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Gov. Jared Polis Requests $116 Million In Federal Aid To Repair I-70 In Glenwood Canyon

UPDATE: Traffic Moving Again Through Glenwood Canyon For First Time This Month After I-70 Closure Due To Mudslides

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) - After multiple mudslides and large debris flows, Gov. Jared Polis is seeking $116 million in federal aid to repair the severe damage to Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon -- and explore alternate routes.

Mudslides Damaged I-70 In Glenwood Canyon In July 2021, A Media Tour Was Provided On The Closed Interstate On Aug. 5, 2021
(credit: RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

"While Coloradans understand the magnitude of destruction, the disruption to people's lives and livelihoods grows as the interstate remains closed," Gov. Polis and Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Shoshana Lew wrote to Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Acting Administrator Stephanie Pollack.

The request noted that the ongoing closure also is having significant implications for interstate travel and commerce.

The request also includes funding to study and construct safety improvements to alternate routes to Glenwood Canyon.

Why Are There Mudslides In Glenwood Canyon In 2021?

Destructive mud and debris flows in Glenwood Canyon during heavy rainstorms this year are a result of the Grizzly Creek Fire, which burned up and down the canyon walls in 2020. The burn scar that resulted has little plant grown in it to keep the soil in the canyonsides from eroding.

What Is The Recommended Detour Around The Closure?

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 in July.

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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