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I-70 To Remain Closed This Weekend Through Glenwood Canyon After Mudslides, Rescues

(CBS4) - Interstate 70 will be closed through Glenwood Canyon for what is expected to be several days as Colorado Department of Transportation crews deal with the aftermath of the latest round of mudslides and brace for heavy rain in the weekend forecast. More than 100 people were in vehicles that got stuck Thursday night when debris and water covered the interstate in several locations. No one was hurt.

Glenwood Canyon mudslides
(credit: CBS)

Approximately 30 cars were unable to get out of the canyon, and rescue efforts to get the drivers and passengers out of harm's way are complete. Some people remain in a rest area in the canyon as crews try to "punch a hole" through the debris and mud to get them out.

Some people sheltered in the tunnel in the canyon overnight. CDOT crews also cut a path through debris so some Garfield County Sheriff's deputies and Glenwood Springs firefighters could get a bus to some stranded drivers. The American Red Cross set up a temporary shelter at the Glenwood Springs Community Center to serve those people. There were about 20 in total there overnight.

Glenwood Canyon mudslides
(credit: CBS)

Only a few vehicles are still stranded on the interstate, and heavy construction equipment is being used to clear the road so they can be taken out of the canyon.

I-70 is closed from Rifle to Dotsero, as is has been when there have been other mudslides during heavy rain events this summer.

The likelihood of debris flows in the canyon during heavy rainstorms is a result of the Grizzly Creek Fire, which burned up and down the canyon walls last year. The burn scar that resulted has little plant grown in it to keep the soil in the canyonsides from eroding.

CDOT recommends drivers take the alternative route to get around the I-70 closure. That route is to the north of the canyon and adds approximately 2.5 hours to the drive in either direction.

"It's just not an ideal place for short detours," said CDOT Region 3 Transportation Director Mike Goolsby on earlier this month.

❗️TRAVEL ALERT | ROAD CLOSURE - I-70 Glenwood Canyon❗️ ⚠️ UPDATE - 2:00 p.m. (8/01) - I-70 through Glenwood Canyon will...

Posted by Colorado Department of Transportation on Thursday, July 29, 2021

The following is the route to take:

WESTBOUND I-70: Motorists coming from the Denver metro area or Interstate 25 can travel westbound on I-70 to Silverthorne, then turn north onto Highway 9. In Kremmling, travelers should turn onto westbound Highway 40 towards Steamboat Springs. After reaching Craig, motorists can return south via Highway 13 towards Rifle. Access to I-70 westbound is at Rifle.

(credit: CBS)

EASTBOUND I-70: Motorists traveling eastbound from Utah or Grand Junction can reach the Denver metro area by traveling north from Rifle on Highway 13 to Craig. From there, head east on Highway 40 through Steamboat Springs. Either take Highway 131 south to Wolcott and onto I-70 from there or continue on Highway 40 through to Kremmling and head south on Highway 9, then join up with eastbound I-70 again at Silverthorne.

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