CDOT: Travelers should prepare for weather-related disruptions and road closures through at least next week

Colorado Department of Transportation

Ongoing flash flood watches and warnings due to monsoon rains are likely

STATEWIDE — As an ongoing monsoon weather pattern increases flooding and mudslide risks throughout Colorado, travelers need to plan ahead and double-check weather warnings and COtrip.org before hitting the road. Mudslides and flooding have closed multiple roads in the last 24 hours, and are likely to do so again. CDOT crews are coordinating statewide to respond to slides, clean up debris and manage traffic impacts along affected roadways. We appreciate motorists’ patience as we work as quickly and safely as possible to clear roadways while also monitoring for more rain and mudslides. 

“Between the unrelenting weather forecast and the impacts we are seeing throughout Colorado, CDOT is asking travelers to take extra precautions, plan for additional time and double-check conditions before traveling,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “Our crews will continue to monitor conditions closely and take what steps we can to keep people safe and return to normal as the weather allows. Once weather passes and crews can evaluate the impacts to the roadway, we are removing rocks and debris and making sure the road surface is safe before reopening.” 

Weather forecasts from the National Weather Service show the monsoon season will be in full effect during the next 7-10 days. Slow moving storms are anticipated, with the ability to drop a significant amount of precipitation. This afternoon, forecasters are monitoring storms building south of I-70 and across Colorado’s mountains. Central Larimer County, including the Cameron Peak burn scar, is under a Flash Flood Warning until 4:30 p.m. today. Thunderstorms producing heavy rain and resulting in additional flooding are expected. Weather forecasters are also monitoring potential impacts for several burn areas including Grizzly Creek, Cameron Peak and East Troublesome burn scars.

Several major roads remain affected by mudslides that were triggered yesterday afternoon and evening and earlier today, including: 

  • I-70 in Glenwood Canyon continues to be closed between Exit 87 (West Rifle) and Exit 133 (Dotsero). The closure began at 8:45pm on Tuesday, July 20, due to a Flash Flood Warning and then mudslides. Crews are clearing five mudslides and will be assessing weather this afternoon and evening. There are three slides on eastbound I-70, at Mile Points 127.5 to 128.5, that consist of mostly water and soupy mud. A fourth slide on westbound lanes is located from MP 130.5 to Exit 129 (Bair Ranch) and has more solid material, including small rocks. A fifth slide took place on the Bair Ranch exit off-ramp. It also contains more solid material with small rocks.
  • CO 14 in Larimer County has now opened following mudslides triggered yesterday evening. 
  • CO 125 between Cabin Creek and Buffalo Creek in Grand County: a mudslide around 2:30 p.m. today has closed the road in this area; more details will be available as crews respond.
  • CO 133 near McClure Pass and south of Carbondale is open with one alternating lane of traffic. Crews have cleared one lane through an 8 foot mudslide from Tuesday night; two smaller slides also reached the road. Clean up may last longer than usual due to continuing slides in the area. Motorists should plan for delays.

“Landslides can travel several miles and create an avalanche of earth, mud, and debris. These natural disasters are fast-moving and come with force,” explains Col. Matthew C. Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Advance preparation can make a big difference in your safety and survival. Pay attention to the weather forecast and stay alert by looking for the landslide signs like unusual sounds, including rocks knocking together, or trees cracking.”

“We know that flooding is a high risk after wildfires, and our Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) has been working proactively with affected communities to raise awareness and enhance preparedness for these types of events,” said Stan Hilkey, Director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety. “Local communities have done an excellent job responding rapidly to the floods and mudslides this week, particularly in Larimer County where they have sadly seen losses. DHSEM and the State Patrol will continue to support efforts to open roads quickly and work on solutions for a quick recovery.” 

COtrip.org will continue to have the latest information on travel conditions throughout the state, even as conditions change quickly.

CDOT: Travelers should prepare for weather-related disruptions and road closures through at least next week