Avalanche blocks I-70 on Vail Pass

9NEWS at 8 a.m. 1/10/17.

KUSA - Up to 15 feet of snow blanketed Interstate 70 early Tuesday morning after an avalanche swept across the highway, partially burying one semi-truck.

The avalanche happened in an area of Vail Pass known as the Narrows just after 2:40 a.m., according to Colorado State Patrol, and left Interstate 70 closed in both directions as crews worked to clear the snow from the road.

CSP says the semi-truck caught in the slide was carrying mail. The driver was not hurt, and no other vehicles were involved.

This is contrary to a report from the Colorado Department of Transportation, which said three trucks were caught in the slide.

CSP says CDOT plans to clear the eastbound lanes of the highway first so crews can remove the vehicles caught in traffic.

The highway is expected to be closed for a few hours. CSP said "if all goes well," they plan to have the highway open by 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. 

CSP says unseasonable warm daytime temperatures – followed by rain and sleet and rapid early morning show accumulation – led to heightened avalanche risk. 

Interstate 70 was also closed in both directions from Silverthorne to the Eisenhower Tunnel due to avalanche reduction efforts. 

(© 2017 KUSA)


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