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I-70 reopens through Glenwood Canyon; Crews monitoring Friday's forecast

Crews are closely monitoring weather forecasts Friday and are prepared to go back into a safety closure.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — Interstate 70 reopened through Glenwood Canyon early Friday morning, said Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).

The closure of through Glenwood Canyon began around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

CDOT crews had to clear small material slides at mile points 120.6, 120.7 westbound and 130 eastbound between 2:45 a.m. and 4:45 a.m. Friday.

Crews will monitor weather forecasts Friday and CDOT said it is prepared to go back into a safety closure should the National Weather Service (NWS) issue a Flash Flood Warning. Motorists should also plan for slower speeds and congestion through the canyon.

A slow-moving storm moved right through the flood-prone canyon on Wednesday, prompting yet another closure of the burn scar-affected stretch of highway.

This was the first significant rain event since the major slides occurred in late July, and CDOT has been closely monitoring Glenwood Canyon to assess how the canyon responds to the rainfall and saturation.

Credit: CDOT
Small mudslides on Interstate 70 early Friday, Aug. 20, 2021.

Travelers should monitor COtrip.org for road closure information and continue to check the weather forecast before traveling in this area or through the mountains.  

CDOT automatically closes the flood-prone stretch of highway anytime a Flash Flood Warning is issued by the National Weather Service (NWS).

The Grizzly Creek burn scar is located right near the highway, and burn scars are especially vulnerable to flash flooding due to the lack of vegetation to absorb moisture. As a result, flood-driven mudslides are common near or even over the interstate. 

RELATED: Extreme trail damage to close Hanging Lake at least into 2022

If detouring, CDOT asked motorists to use the northern alternate route, which adds an extra 2.5 hours of travel time.

Westbound motorists from the Denver metro area should plan on exiting I-70 at Exit 205 (Silverthorne) and traveling north on Colorado 9 toward Kremmling or exiting I-70 at Exit 157 (Wolcott) and traveling north on Colorado 131 toward Steamboat Springs. 

Travelers will then continue west on U.S. 40 and then south on Colorado 13 to complete the alternate route and return to westbound I-70 at Rifle (Exit 90). 

Motorists traveling eastbound from Utah or Grand Junction can reach the Denver Metro area by traveling the route above in reverse. 

A traffic control point is still in place at eastbound Exit 87 (West Rifle) to guide motorists to the northern alternate route. Visitors and local traffic traveling eastbound to Glenwood Springs and destinations in the Roaring Fork Valley can continue down US 6 and enter back on eastbound I-70 at Exit 90 (Main Rifle), Exit 97 (Silt), or Exit 105 (New Castle).

RELATED: 1st snow of the season possible for Colorado's 14ers this week

RELATED: CDOT lifts I-70 closure through Glenwood Canyon 24 minutes after announcing it

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Colorado Guide

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