Operational update on I-70 through Glenwood Canyon

CDOT

July 30, 1:30 PM 
GLENWOOD CANYON — Glenwood Canyon continues to experience severe impacts from debris flows along burn scars from the Grizzly Creek fire. A safety closure continues to be in place for Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon, and is anticipated to last through the weekend.

The extended safety closure is necessary due to significant clean up required after Thursday’s mudslides and debris flows, as well as continued heavy rain in the forecast. CDOT reminds travelers that weather and safety conditions can shift precipitously in a manner of moments in this area, and weather forecasts suggest rain and significant mudslide risk through the weekend.

At approximately 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 29, Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon was closed due to a Flash Flood Warning for the Grizzly Creek burn scar area. CDOT closed I-70 at standard exits to keep the travelling public safe and to access recommended detour routes. At 6:00 p.m. that Flash Flood Warning and a Flash Flood Watch expired, and I-70 was reopened.

Later last night at approximately 9:00 p.m., a new Flash Flood Warning went into effect after storm cells quickly built up in the area. Mudslides and debris reached I-70 within a few minutes. Throughout this time, CDOT highway maintenance personnel were working to secure the roadway and protect life safety. While debris was flowing down onto the roadway, CDOT temporarily evacuated its operations center in Hanging Lake Tunnel and had operations personnel working in the complex shelter in place for their safety. By approximately 10:45 p.m. the Hanging Lake Tunnel operations center was back online.

CDOT staff at the tunnel assisted travelers who were trapped on I-70 by debris flows and sought shelter at Hanging Lake Tunnel; 29 motorists sheltered at the tunnel complex overnight. In total, CDOT has accounted for 108 individuals who have now been either evacuated from Glenwood Canyon or have been moved to a safe place.

CDOT crews are now working to regain operational access throughout Glenwood Canyon. Because the National Weather Service has placed this area back under a Flash Flood Watch, there is a limited window of time to move all abandoned vehicles to safety.

With significant additional rain forecasted for the area and the possibility of additional debris flows, I-70 will remain closed between Exits 87 (West Rifle) and 133 (Dotsero). This closure will last at least through this weekend.

CDOT strongly asks that motorists use the recommended northern alternate route via I-70 – CO 9 – US 40 – CO 13. Westbound motorists from the Denver metro area should exit I-70 at Exit 205 (Silverthorne) and travel north on Colorado Highway 9 towards Kremmling. Travelers will continue west on US Highway 40 and then south on CO 13 to complete the alternate route and return to westbound I-70 at Rifle (Exit 90). Eastbound travelers can detour using the same route in reverse.

Operational update on I-70 through Glenwood Canyon

CDOT: I-70 westbound open in Glenwood Canyon after debris flows and Colorado River impacts

Garco 911

July 24, 4:27 am – I-70 is open between mile markers 133 Dotsero and 116 Glenwood Springs westbound lanes only.

Colorado Department of Transportation

I-70 through Glenwood Canyon closed due to several debris flows
Extended closure anticipated. Motorists should use alternate route

July 22, 9:14 pm UPDATE:

I-70 Corridor – I-70 in Glenwood Canyon is closed in both directions again, due to several debris flows that occurred around 5:30 p.m. this evening. The extended closure is between Exit 116 (Glenwood Springs) and Exit 133 (Dotsero), with an additional closure point at Exit 87 (West Rifle).

Crews are continuing to assess the slide areas with particular attention to a debris field blocking the Colorado River at mile point 124, about one mile west of Hanging Lake Tunnel. The roadway was not impacted at this location, but CDOT engineers are on site to evaluate any damage to structures. Cinnamon Creek, above the Hanging Lake Tunnel complex, also experienced a significant debris flow but the tunnel complex was not damaged.

An earlier safety closure had been put in place at 4:45 p.m., so vehicles were clear of the canyon. 

This is an EXTENDED CLOSURE and motorists are encouraged to utilize the northern alternate route (Please see attached map). That route is Colorado Highway 13 from Rifle to Craig, east on US 40 to Steamboat over Rabbit Ears Pass to Kremmling, and down Colorado Highway 9 to Silverthorne.

Motorists traveling westbound can access Colorado Highway 82 / Independence Pass. Commercial vehicles and recreational vehicles longer than 35 feet are not permitted on Independence Pass.

Please do not use navigation applications to look for alternate routes.There are many auxiliary roads such as Cottonwood Pass, Hagerman Pass and Eagle/Thomasville Road that are not passable and do not have cell service. Cottonwood Pass is restricted to local traffic only.

Glenwood Canyon debris flow - July 22, 2021

Glenwood Canyon debris flows - July 22, 2021

Glenwood Canyon mud flow - July 22, 2021

Glenwood Canyon debris flow on July 22, 2021

Glenwood Canyon, Colorado debris flow July 22, 2021

Glenwood Canyon debris flow for July 22, 2021

Glenwood Canyon debris flow from July 22, 2021

Garco 911

July 22, 6:16 pm: The existing closure on I-70 has been moved from mile marker 116 eastbound, Glenwood Springs, to mile marker 87, west Rifle.

I-70 is closed between exit 87 and 116 eastbound, with local traffic allowed through exit 109 to access the Highway 82 corridor. Westbound, I-70 is closed at Dotsero, exit 133.

Colorado Department of Transportation

UPDATE – 6:15 pm (7/22) – Debris flows have occurred in several sections of I-70 Glenwood Canyon. This is an EXTENDED CLOSURE with no estimated time of reopening, while crews assess the debris flows. Motorists are advised to seek the northern alternate route via Steamboat Springs.

CDOT asks that motorists use the recommended northern alternate route when detouring around the closure. Westbound motorists from the Denver metro area should exit I-70 at Exit 205 (Silverthorne) and travel north on Colorado Highway 9 towards Kremmling. Travelers will continue west on US Highway 40 and then south on CO 13 to complete the alternate route and return to westbound I-70 at Rifle (Exit 90). Eastbound travelers can detour using the same route in reverse.

Glenwood Canyon detour route

City of Glenwood

July 22, 6:06 pm: Safety closure in effect for the Glenwood Springs River Park at Midland and Devereux and the pedestrian bridge crossing the Colorado River from the River Trail to Two Rivers Park. No estimated time for reopening.

National Weather Service

July 22, 2021, 4:36 p.m.: The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued a flash flood warning for the Grizzly Creek Fire Burn Area in Western Eagle County in west central Colorado, East Central Garfield County in west central Colorado until 6:30 p.m.

At 4:36 p.m. MDT, Doppler radar indicated thunderstorms producing heavy rain over the Grizzly Creek Fire Burn Area. Flash flooding is ongoing or expected to begin shortly. Excessive rainfall over the burn scar will result in debris flow moving through the Glenwood Canyon area. The debris flow can consist of rock, mud, vegetation and other loose materials.

HAZARD: Life-threatening flash flooding. Thunderstorms producing flash flooding in and around the Grizzly Creek Fire Burn Area.
SOURCE: Radar.
IMPACT: Life-threatening flash flooding of areas in and around the Grizzly Creek Fire Burn Area. Some locations that will experience flash flooding include Glenwood Springs and Shoshone.

FLASH FLOOD DAMAGE THREAT: CONSIDERABLE
Instructions: This is a life threatening situation. Heavy rainfall will cause extensive and severe flash flooding of creeks…streams and ditches in the Grizzly Creek Fire Burn Area. Severe debris flows can also be anticipated across roads. Roads and driveways may be washed away in places. If you encounter flood waters climb to safety. Turn around, don`t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.

GarCo 911

July 22, 2021, 4:40 p.m.: I-70 is closed between mile-markers 116 and 133 both directions, Glenwood Springs and Dotsero, due to a flash flood warning.

National Weather Service

July 22, 2021, 12 p.m.: A flash flood watch is in effect for the Grizzly Creek Fire burn area through the evening. The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has expanded the flash flood watch to include portions of northwest Colorado and west central Colorado, including the following areas, in northwest Colorado, Flat Tops. In west central Colorado, Central Colorado River Basin and Gore and Elk mountains/Central Mountain valleys.

National Weather Service meteorologists are monitoring the possibility for heavy rainfall over the Grizzly Creek Fire Burn area, which may lead to flash flooding and debris flows.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS

Monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued.

CDOT: I-70 westbound open in Glenwood Canyon after debris flows and Colorado River impacts

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

CDOT: Glenwood Canyon reopened for travel following mudslides and rockfall

Colorado Department of Transportation

July 21, 9:45 pm – UPDATE: I-70 Glenwood Canyon is open in both directions – CDOT crews have reopened both westbound and eastbound I-70 in Glenwood Canyon. Crews will remain on standby in the event the weather changes during the night. For the status of road closures at any time, including overnight, please check cotrip.org, CDOT’s Twitter page, or call 511.

July 21, 12:43 pm – UPDATE: CDOT crews are continuing to clean eastbound and westbound lanes on I-70 and assess the weather. The safety closure continues to be in place at this time. There is a Flash Flood Watch now in place for the Grizzly Creek Burn scar.

I-70 in Glenwood Canyon is closed at Exit 87 (West Rifle), Exit 116 (Glenwood Springs) and Exit 133 (Dotsero), due to flash flooding potential for the Grizzly Creek burn scar. 

EASTBOUND I-70 DETOUR: Colorado Highway 13 from Rifle to Craig, east on US 40 to Steamboat over Rabbit Ears Pass to Kremmling, down Colorado Highway 9 to Silverthorne. 

WESTBOUND I-70 DETOUR: See route above, in reverse. Click here to see a map of the alternate route: DETOUR MAP

National Weather Service

July 21, 12:22 pm: FLASH FLOOD WATCH FOR THE GRIZZLY CREEK FIRE BURN AREA IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT MDT TONIGHT…
Flash flood watch map

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has expanded the

* Flash Flood Watch to include portions of northwest Colorado and west central Colorado, including the following areas, in northwest Colorado, Flat Tops. In west central Colorado, Central Colorado River Basin and Gore and Elk Mountains/Central Mountain valleys.

* Until midnight MDT tonight.

* National Weather Service Meteorologists are monitoring the possibility for heavy rainfall over the Grizzly Creek Fire burn area, which may lead to flash flooding and debris flows.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

CDOT: Glenwood Canyon reopened for travel following mudslides and rockfall

NWS: I-70 open; Flash Flood Warning expired for Glenwood Canyon

Garco911

July 13, 6:05 pm; I-70 is open between mile-markers 116 and 133 both directions, main Glenwood exit and Dotsero.

July 13, 5:23 pm; I-70 is closed at mile-marker 87 West Rifle EB, closure remains in place due to current storm cell in Rifle.

National Weather Service

July 13, 4:57 p.m.: Flash flood warning for the Grizzly Creek Burn area expires at 5 p.m. for western Eagle and east central Garfield counties. The heavy rain has ended. Flash flooding is no longer expected to pose a threat. Please continue to heed remaining road closures.

GarCo911

July 13, 4:02 p.m.: The existing closure on I-70 has been moved from mile-marker mm109 EB, Canyon Creek exit, to mile-marker 87, West Rifle Exit.

July 13, 3:50 p.m.: The existing closure on I-70 has been moved from mile-marker mm 116 EB, main Glenwood exit, to mile-marker 109, Canyon Creek exit. Local traffic can get through.

Colorado Department of Transportation

Safety closure in place for I-70 Glenwood Canyon due to high potential of flash flooding

July 13, 3:15 p.m.: CDOT is putting a safety closure in place for Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon due to a Flash Flood Warning issued by the National Weather Service. Closure points for westbound traffic will be Exit 133 (Dotsero) to Exit 116 (Glenwood Springs). Closure points for eastbound traffic will be from Exit 87 (West Rifle) to Exit 109 (Canyon Creek). The safety closure is in place to protect motorists from the potential of flash floods, mudslides, rockfall or other hazards that can be triggered by heavy rains at the location of Grizzly Creek burn scar area. The closure will remain in place through the duration of the Flash Flood Warning, which is forecast to end at 5 p.m. tonight.

GarCo911

July 13, 3:24 p.m.: I-70 is closed between mile-markers 116 and 133 both directions, main Glenwood exit and Dotsero, due to a flash flood warning.

National Weather Service

July 13, 3:06 p.m.: The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued a flash flood warning for the Grizzly Creek Fire Burn Area in western Eagle County in west central Colorado east central Garfield County in west central Colorado until 5 p.m. MDT.

At 3:06 p.m. MDT, Doppler radar indicated thunderstorms producing heavy rain approaching the Grizzly Creek Fire Burn Area. Flash flooding is expected to begin shortly. Excessive rainfall over the burn scar will result in debris flow moving through the Glenwood Canyon area. The debris flow can consist of rock, mud, vegetation and other loose materials.
Hazard: Life-threatening flash flooding. Thunderstorms producing flash flooding in and around the Grizzly Creek Fire Burn Area.

Source: Radar.
Impact: Life-threatening flash flooding of areas in and around the Grizzly Creek Fire Burn Area. Some locations that will experience flash flooding include Glenwood Springs and Shoshone.

FLASH FLOOD…RADAR INDICATED FLASH FLOOD DAMAGE THREAT…CONSIDERABLE
Instructions: This is a life-threatening situation. Heavy rainfall will cause extensive and severe flash flooding of creeks, streams, and ditches in the Grizzly Creek Fire Burn Area. Severe debris flows can also be anticipated across roads. Roads and driveways may be washed away in places. If you encounter flood waters, climb to safety. Turn around, don`t drown when encountering flooded roads. Most flood deaths occur in vehicles.

Central Colorado River Basin-Gore and Elk Mountains/Central Mountain Valleys-Flat Tops
1151 AM MDT Tue Jul 13 2021
Map of areas with Flash Flood Watch

…FLASH FLOOD WATCH FOR THE GRIZZLY CREEK FIRE BURN AREA IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM MDT THIS EVENING…

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued a

  • Flash Flood Watch for the Grizzly Creek Fire Burn Area in portions of northwest Colorado and west central Colorado, including the following areas, in northwest Colorado, Flat Tops. In west central Colorado, Central Colorado River Basin and Gore and Elk Mountains/Central Mountain Valleys.
  • Until 8 PM MDT this evening.
  • National Weather Service Meteorologists are monitoring the potential for heavy rainfall over the Grizzly Creek Fire Burn Area, which may lead to flash flooding and debris flows.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

Colorado Department of Transportation

July 13, 7:35 am
CDOT closed Grizzly Creek rest area at I-70 mile marker 121 eastbound and westbound today, as well as Shoshone rest area, mile marker 123 due to forecasted precipitation over the Grizzly Creek burn scar. Updates will be posted to cotrip.org.

NWS: I-70 open; Flash Flood Warning expired for Glenwood Canyon

NWS: Flash flood watch cancelled for Glenwood Canyon

National Weather Service

July 8, 5:55 p.m. – EVENT CANCELLED: Flash Flood Watch from 7/8/2021 for Glenwood Canyon.

Colorado Department of Transportation

July 8, 6:18 p.m. – UPDATE – REST AREAS AND RECREATION PATH CLOSED: I-70 eastbound / westbound Grizzly Creek mile marker 121 and Shoshone mile marker 123 will remain closed overnight.

July 8, 4:15 p.m. Rest areas and Glenwood Canyon recreation path closed: I-70 eastbound and westbound rest areas are closed at Grizzly Creek mile marker 121, and Shoshone mile marker 123, due to forecasted precipitation over the Grizzly Creek burn scar.

National Weather Service

July 8, 2021, 4:04 p.m. – The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued a flash flood watch for the Grizzly Creek Fire burn area until 6 p.m. MDT this evening in portions of northwest Colorado and west central Colorado, including the following areas: in northwest Colorado, Flat Tops Wilderness; in west central Colorado, Central Colorado River Basin and Gore and Elk Mountains/Central Mountain valleys.

National Weather Service Meteorologists are monitoring the potential for heavy rainfall over the Grizzly Creek Fire burn area that may lead to flash flooding and debris flows.

Precautionary/preparedness actions

Monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued.

NWS: Flash flood watch cancelled for Glenwood Canyon

Garco911: Canyon reopen on I-70 following accident in Glenwood Canyon

1:53 a.m. – CDOT reopened all lanes on I-70 in Glenwood Canyon following crash cleanup.

3:40 p.m. – CDOT has placed an eastbound closure point on I-70 at exit 87 (Rifle) to encourage use of the alternative route. Local traffic is still able to pass through to Glenwood Springs as needed at exits 87 and 109, but eastbound traffic is fully closed at exit 116.

3:20 p.m. – Local access is open on I-70 eastbound from exit 109 (Canyon Creek) to Glenwood Springs/CO 82, but local traffic is being screened and is moving slowly. There is no eastbound access past exit 116 (main Glenwood Springs exit). Please plan accordingly.

2:44 p.m. – CDOT: Between Exit 109: US 6; Canyon Creek (1 mile east of the New Castle area) and Exit 133: Dotsero (Dotsero). Update: remains closed during ongoing crash cleanup in eastbound lanes. All WB lanes now open. Use alternate routes north of I-70. Extensive construction & other restrictions ongoing along multiple routes south of I-70.

2 p.m. – I-70 EB through Glenwood Canyon following serious crash.  Early est. for eastbound being re-opened is 12 HOURS. I-70 EB is CLOSED at MP 109 (Canyon Creek) – only open for local access.  All others should use COtrip.org for alt route.

1:50 p.m. – COTrips: There is an extended closure in place for I-70 eastbound in Glenwood Canyon due to a major crash. The closure is expected to continue through Friday night, May 28, 2021.

Due to the extended closure, *eastbound* motorists on #I70 are advised to take the northern alternate route if traveling eastbound between Rifle and Eagle County, Summit County or the Denver metro area. Motorists should anticipate delays on the alternate route due to additional detour traffic. Westbound I-70 is closed at this time but the closure is expected to be shorter than for eastbound. Eastbound and westbound are closed due to a crash in the eastbound lanes near Mile Point 125, which is near the Hanging Lake exit.

RECOMMENDED ALTERNATE ROUTE FOR EASTBOUND TRAVELERS:
Motorists traveling eastbound on I-70 can reach the Denver Metro area by turning north from I-70 onto Colorado Highway 13 at Rifle (Exit 90). Travel north on CO 13 to Craig, then turn east on US Highway 40 towards Kremmling. In Kremmling, motorists should head south on Colorado Highway 9 towards Silverthorne. In Silverthorne, motorists can rejoin eastbound I-70.

Before detouring onto any alternate route, motorists should refer to www.cotrip.org for the latest road conditions. CDOT strongly discourages travelers from using highways south of I-70 for an alternate route, due to extensive construction closures. CDOT also asks that motorists not use Cottonwood Pass Road (in Eagle/Garfield counties), Hagerman Pass, Eagle/Thomasville Road or other county or forest service roads in Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties as a detour. These roads are not built for heavy traffic or commercial oversize vehicles. Many of these four-wheel drive roads also do not have cell phone coverage.

1:36 p.m. – I-70 is closed at mile-marker 109 EB, Canyon Creek, to reroute traffic due to an accident in Glenwood Canyon.

12:35 p.m. – I-70 is closed at mile-marker 116 EB, Glenwood Springs, due to an accident.

CDOT: I-70 eastbound / westbound 6 miles east of Glenwood Springs (milemarker 124.4-124.4) road closed.

Garco911: Canyon reopen on I-70 following accident in Glenwood Canyon

CDOT: I-70 remains closed at De Beque

Update on the westbound I-70 closure at De Beque: Westbound I-70 continues to be closed in De Beque Canyon at Exit 62, due to the hazmat crash yesterday. There is no estimated time of reopening and staging for all wide loads continues to be at Exit 62. 

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) continues to ask that motorists avoid traveling west along this section of I-70 due to limited detour options. Westbound motorists have the option of detouring around the closure by taking Exit 62, and traveling west on Mesa County 45 ½ Road to Colorado Highway 65. Once at CO 65, motorists can travel north back to I-70 westbound.

There are still icy, snow-packed sections of CO 13, US 40 and CO 139, so CDOT does not recommend that route as a detour.

CDOT: I-70 remains closed at De Beque

CDOT: Slow to ramp up yesterday, storm makes itself known today – numerous road closures continue due to adverse conditions

Update on the westbound I-70 closure at De Beque, 1:10 p.m., March 15: Westbound I-70 continues to be closed in De Beque Canyon at Exit 62, due to the hazmat crash yesterday. There is no estimated time of reopening and staging for all wide loads continues to be at Exit 62. 

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) continues to ask that motorists avoid traveling west along this section of I-70 due to limited detour options. Westbound motorists have the option of detouring around the closure by taking Exit 62, and traveling west on Mesa County 45 ½ Road to Colorado Highway 65. Once at CO 65, motorists can travel north back to I-70 westbound.

There are still icy, snow-packed sections of CO 13, US 40 and CO 139, so CDOT does not recommend that route as a detour.

Please note: At this time there is an I-70 westbound closure at Debeque (Exit 62), between Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs, due to a hazardous materials spill. This extended closure has no estimated time of reopening. Westbound I-70 extended closure at De Beque will likely stay closed overnight. CDOT asks that motorists avoid traveling west along this section of I-70, due to limited detour options and deteriorating driving conditions. Motorists need to check COtrip.org BEFORE traveling, for the latest updates. 

STATEWIDE — The Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado State Patrol are urging the public to stay off the highways and interstates as conditions throughout Colorado continue to worsen with the arrival of the March spring snow storm. 

Motorists should keep a close watch on the weather and road conditions and plan to stay off the roads during the storm. Return travel from the mountains into Denver will be extremely challenging on Sunday for those who visited the high country. Motorists should make arrangements to postpone travel until Monday when the storm has passed and conditions improve.  

“While the storm took some time to pick up yesterday, it is much more intense today — and just as it arrived a little later than anticipated, it will be with us for longer than originally expected, through today and tonight,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “We ask motorists not to let their guard down; today’s conditions are worse than yesterday.”

“We saw great partnership from the public as this storm slowly moved in yesterday,” said State Patrol Chief Matthew Packard. “Now we need people’s continued help and cooperation to keep everyone safe—stay home if you can and limit travel for only essential or emergency needs.”

Many road closures are currently in place and more closures are expected as the storm intensifies through the day Sunday and into the night. Motorists should check COtrip.org for up-to-date conditions and closure information. Heavy accumulations of snow, snow packed and icy roads, and low visibility will continue well into the evening along I-70, I-25 and other highway corridors in the foothills and the Front Range. 

Motorists are encouraged NOT to seek alternate routes to circumvent road closures, but rather stay put or turn back and find a safe place to wait out the storm. If a highway safety closure is in place, that means the alternate routes could be impassable.  

“Yesterday, we saw much of the initial snow melt because of relatively warm air and surface temperatures; today, as the storm ramps up, much more is sticking to the roads,” said CDOT Maintenance and Operations Director John Lorme. “That means difficult driving conditions with poor visibility during parts of the day. This will get worse in the evening when it’s colder and darker. If you went to the mountains this weekend, please don’t plan to drive home tonight.”

Drivers of both passenger cars and commercial trucks are reminded of the importance of complying with chain and traction law requirements. Passenger vehicles should not attempt to traverse roads without snow tires. Commercial trucks must carry chains.

Here is what motorists need to know:

  • AVOID traveling on impacted roads during the storm, throughout the Denver Metro area, on the I-70 Mountain Corridor and I-25 South Gap construction zone between Castle Rock and Monument.  CDOT is likely to close these roadways for safety reasons depending on the severity of the storm.
  • It is also possible I-70 east of Airpark Road and other roadways in the Eastern Plains may close depending on the severity of the storm. 
  • CDOT crews are out in force and plowing roads, focusing on clearing the primary routes such as I-25, I-70 and impacted interstates. Plows will make multiple passes on these roads during the storm and will not be able to address the secondary routes until the worst of the storm has passed. This means many roadways could be heavily snow packed–making for hazardous driving conditions.
  • During a significant and high impact snow storm, travel should be limited to emergency and essential reasons only with the proper vehicle and tires for heavy snow. DO NOT ATTEMPT to drive in severe weather conditions unless you have the appropriate tires with good tread. If you are out in the storm, have an emergency kit with blankets, food, batteries, water, a shovel and survival supplies should you get stuck or stranded.  
  • It’s best to STAY OFF THE ROADS DURING A HEAVY SNOW EVENT.
  • Bow to the plow! Motorists should leave ample distance behind the vehicle ahead and NOT PASS PLOWS. 
  • For more information on preparing for the snow, chain and traction laws and other winter storm related guidance, go to winter.codot.gov.

Stay Informed 

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts and anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:

About Winter Wise
CDOT’s Winter Wise campaign focuses on education, tools and resources to help keep drivers safe on Colorado’s winter roads. To learn more and view helpful tips for winter driving, visit winter.codot.gov. For specific information about I-70 and other highway travel conditions, motorists can call 511 or check COtrip.org. Additionally, drivers can check Twitter for up-to-date travel information via @ColoradoDOT. For more detailed information about the Traction and Passenger Vehicle Safety Laws, snowplow laws, safety stats and frequently asked questions, visit winter.codot.gov.  

CDOT: Slow to ramp up yesterday, storm makes itself known today – numerous road closures continue due to adverse conditions