CDOT: I-70 Glenwood Canyon emergency project begins to make permanent repairs

Colorado Department of Transportation

Contracted team has begun assessing and repairing damaged areas

GARFIELD/EAGLE COUNTIES – The Colorado Department of Transportation has awarded contractor partner, Colorado-based Lawrence Construction, the I-70 Glenwood Canyon Emergency Project. Motorists traveling on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon should anticipate delays, as well as intermittent daytime and nighttime closures, due to repair work. On July 29 and 31, the canyon was impacted by several major materials slides, including mudslides. The debris did considerable damage to the interstate at Mile Point 123.5, known as Blue Gulch.

“We are encouraged to get this project kicked off and have a contractor that mobilized so quickly and is using a plethora of local help,” said CDOT Executive Director, Shoshana Lew. “We understand how impactful the closures of the canyon are on the local economy. Governor Polis has been clear that he wants everything completed before Thanksgiving, and we are optimistic we will have the interstate back open to four lanes at this location by the end of November.”

Crews have been actively setting up permanent traffic control barriers at the Blue Gulch location, where a majority of the repair work will start. The initial damage and clean up after the materials slides required an extended closure of I-70 in Glenwood Canyon to ensure the safety of the traveling public. I-70 in the canyon is now open, with the Blue Gulch section of roadway down to one lane each direction due to temporary and long term repairs.

At MP 123.5, crews are excavating mudslide material surrounding the 7’x7’ concrete box culvert that runs beneath the interstate from Blue Gulch to the river. CDOT crews have uncovered the culvert inlet, which was severely damaged due to the mudslides. The contractor team now is working to determine how much debris is in the culvert and the extent of the damage and repairs that will need to be made.

Additionally, crews are excavating and hauling debris from the MP 123.5 location to begin the first phase of roadway and retaining wall reconstruction. Portions of the eastbound roadway retaining wall adjacent to the recreation path were destroyed or severely damaged in the event. This wall infrastructure supports the eastbound lanes.

On the westbound deck, removal and rebuilding of the damaged parapet wall, and concrete deck will be in tandem with the work on the culvert. 

Repairs to the recreation path will round out the project as well as continued debris removal, railing and barrier repair at several locations throughout the canyon that experienced material slides.

Lawrence Construction is using several local subcontractors that all have experience in Glenwood Canyon. The subs are from Gypsum, Silt, Carbondale and Grand Junction. 

TRAVEL IMPACTS

  • Work is scheduled Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
  • There is currently a permanent one lane closure at mile point 123.5. westbound the closure is ½ mile long, eastbound the closure is 1.5 miles long.
  • Intermittent lane closures should be expected for utility work that will also be present in the canyon.
  • Several night closures are identified in the contract in order to perform safety critical work that would be difficult to perform under live traffic. Those closures will impact one direction of travel at a time and cannot be consecutive nights. A robust outreach plan is in place to alert locals and visitors of these closures at least 72 hours before they are initiated.
  • Motorists should anticipate delays depending on traffic volumes.
  • It is imperative for motorists to drive the posted speed limit through the work zone and leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Travelers are urged to slow down, obey the posted lowered speed limit and avoid all distractions.

This current phase of the emergency project is $6.1M.

Stay informed and connect with the project

Project information is available at: 

CDOT: I-70 Glenwood Canyon emergency project begins to make permanent repairs

CDOT: Glenwood Canyon open

Colorado Department of Transportation

Friday, Aug. 20 @5:00 a.m. I-70 in Glenwood Canyon is OPEN between Exit 116 (Glenwood Springs) and Exit 133 (Dotsero).

  • Crews are closely monitoring weather forecasts today and are prepared to go back into a safety closure should the National Weather Service issue a flash flood WARNING. 
  • Motorists should plan for slower speeds and congestion through the canyon, especially at MP 123.5 where traffic is in the temporary one lane configuration.The WB lane closure is ½ long and EB 1.5 miles.
CDOT: Glenwood Canyon open

CDOT: Glenwood Canyon may open by daybreak

Colorado Department of Transportation

CDOT encouraged by condition of I-70 Glenwood Canyon after consistent precipitation, anticipated to open by daybreak

Crews clearing three small material slides this evening

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Barring any further weather impacts through the night, CDOT crews anticipate opening I-70 Glenwood Canyon by daybreak on Friday, Aug. 20. Crews were encouraged by how well the canyon landscape weathered over three inches of rain that fell over a 24 hour period.

The National Weather Service forecast calls for continued precipitation to dissipate in the early morning hours. Crews have already commenced cleaning up three small material slides in several areas that have seen activity before.

The Colorado Department of Transportation closed Interstate 70 in both directions through Glenwood Canyon at mile points 133 (Dotsero) and MP 116 (Glenwood Springs) at 4:20 p.m. on Aug. 18 due to a Flash Flood Warning issued by the National Weather Service. 

Rain gauges throughout the area measured over three inches of rain in several locations. CDOT will continue to follow the same standard traffic safety and detour procedures that have been in place during the previous closure as forecasts dictate. The repairs in Glenwood Canyon have held up through this weather event so far.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

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:

CDOT: Glenwood Canyon may open by daybreak

CDOT: Travel alert for I-70 Glenwood Canyon, NWS: monsoons return

Colorado Department of Transportation

Showers/storms in western Colorado are forecasted tomorrow afternoon, 8/18.

Note: If a Flash Flood Warning is in effect, expect Glenwood Canyon to close for safety. Check COtrip.org to plan ahead.

National Weather Service

Today brought another day of warmer temperatures, then clouds and thunderstorms will bring some heat relief Wednesday and Thursday.

CDOT: Travel alert for I-70 Glenwood Canyon, NWS: monsoons return

Governor Polis, CDOT announce I-70 open ahead of schedule

Colorado Governor’s Office

CDOT working around the clock to clear Glenwood Canyon

GLENWOOD CANYON – Governor Jared Polis and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Executive Director Shoshana Lew announced that I-70 through Glenwood Canyon has reopened in both directions this morning–ahead of the schedule set by Governor Polis earlier this week. CDOT will continue to provide operational updates and media materials as work in Glenwood Canyon continues.

“Our team has worked tirelessly to get Glenwood Canyon on I-70 opened as soon as possible and we have made each minute count. I’m thrilled that we are delivering a few hours ahead of schedule. Every moment counts. I want to thank Shoshana Lew for her leadership on this effort as CDOT has worked day and night to safely clear a path. It has been an all-hands-on-deck effort to get the canyon reopened from the mudslides which covered parts of the highway with fifteen feet of rock and sludge,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We know that the longer-term repairs will take time and that, as we battle new challenges to our infrastructure with climate change, alternative routes for the I-70 corridor become more urgent.  Our administration is focused on the short, medium, and long term response and recovery from this incident.”

This Wednesday, Governor Polis and CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew observed the extensive damage and around-the-clock repair and debris clearing efforts performed by CDOT.

“There’s going to be a lot to see as you’re driving on I-70 and we know that this will be interesting for all those traversing through the canyon,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “But we urge motorists to please keep your eyes on the roadway. We already expect traffic to be slower through the canyon due to the temporary road configuration and reduced speed limits. The last thing we need is distracted driving, or worse, a crash in the canyon which would inevitably force a closure of I-70. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation in keeping the road open and maintaining this vital connection for people and communities nearby.” 

Coloradans can find the latest updates and information on alternative routes at  www.codot.gov/travel/glenwoodcanyon

Governor Polis, CDOT announce I-70 open ahead of schedule

CDOT: Glenwood Canyon open one lane eastbound and westbound

Colorado State Patrol

Aug. 14, 10:51 a.m. – Expect dust, dirt AND slower speed limits through the Glenwood Canyon with multiple lane closures in various locations. Thank you, CDOT, for your dedication, long hours, and hard work getting the road open.

Colorado Department of Transportation

TRAVEL UPDATE | ONE LANE IN EACH DIRECTION OPEN – Glenwood Canyon

UPDATE – 7:05 a.m. (8/14/21) – I-70 Glenwood Canyon is OPEN.

I-70 Glenwood Canyon is open both eastbound and westbound from mile post 116 (Glenwood Springs) to mile post 133 (Dotsero).

Garco 911

I-70 is open between mile-markers mm 116 (Glenwood Springs) to mm 133 (Dotsero) both directions. Motorists should plan for slower speeds and congestion through the canyon, especially at mm 123.5 where traffic is in the temporary one lane configuration.

CDOT: Glenwood Canyon open one lane eastbound and westbound

CDOT: I-70 Glenwood Canyon safety closure update: Tuesday, Aug. 10

Colorado Department of Transportation

Good weather all day on Monday meant no interruptions for crews at work in Glenwood Canyon. 195 loads of slide material such as mud, rocks and trees (approximately 13 tons per load) were hauled out on Monday to dumpsites at Mile Points 119 (No Name) and 133 (Dotsero) on I-70, and Mile Point 9.3 on Colorado Highway 82. There was not an official weather watch on Monday from NOAA and there was no precipitation at the burn scar or in the canyon.

Interstate clean up

On the east end of the canyon (east of Hanging Lake Tunnel): crews continued cleaning from Hanging Lake Tunnel to Bair Ranch, loading trucks with 120 loads on Monday. Crews also focused on cleaning for the second time an 8′ x 12’ box culvert at Ty Gulch (MP 129.8). Crews were able to clean about halfway through and also exposed three 48” culverts that will be cleaned out today (Tuesday). The priority will be to continue cleaning up all the slides from Hanging Lake Tunnel to Bair Ranch on the eastbound lanes as there is still a lot of material in this area. 

On the west end of the canyon (west of Hanging Lake Tunnel): crews hauled 75 loads on Monday and continued to excavate debris mud at the MP 123.5 eastbound (at Blue Gulch). The west side crew will concentrate on the north side of MP 123.5 to expose a buried box culvert and start making a pad for “super sacks” to sit tomorrow. The goal is to place 60 super sacks, or bags of bedding sand, to the north of the roadway to help protect against future debris flows in that area. Crews were also able to clean debris at MP 123.6 westbound.         

Engineering update

CDOT’s engineering teams were able to conduct in-depth assessments of roadway damage at MP 123.5 (Blue Gulch) made possible by the weekend slide material removal progress. Overall, CDOT believes that the roadway infrastructure can accommodate reopening westbound I-70 to one lane after additional slide material is removed and temporary barriers, rockfall protection and other roadway safety devices are installed to safely temporarily re-open westbound with lane restrictions. This confirmation will help expedite the temporary westbound I-70 reopening timeline.

The engineering teams were also able to verify that the eastbound I-70 remaining roadway infrastructure can also accommodate reopening eastbound I-70 to one lane after approximately 100 feet of roadway embankment and temporary asphalt pavement  is reconstructed along with the necessary roadway safety devices. 

The engineering teams will be conducting additional inspections today at Blue Gulch. CDOT is also coordinating with Xcel Energy at Blue Gulch as Xcel’s infrastructure includes a high voltage line that provides service to CDOT’s Hanging Lake Tunnels and other major Xcel facilities within Glenwood Canyon. CDOT was able to re-establish power to the Hanging Lake Tunnels via a redundant feed from Holy Cross Energy.

Traffic control points at the Exit 87, CO 6 & 13 bypass, and at MP 133 are now being run by a contractor. CDOT and contractor crews are jointly managing Exit 116; CDOT is still manning both sides of CO 82 Independence Pass until the contractor can mobilize more flaggers.

CDOT: I-70 Glenwood Canyon safety closure update: Tuesday, Aug. 10

CDOT: I-70 Glenwood Canyon safety closure update Monday, August 8

Colorado Department of Transportation

Good weather during the weekend allowed crews to work without interruption on clearing mud and other debris from I-70 in Glenwood Canyon. CDOT crews were able to make significant progress during the weekend of Saturday, August 7 and Sunday, August 8, hauling 440 loads over the two days. Each truck load equals 13 tons of material. There was not an official weather watch over the weekend from NOAA and there was no precipitation at the burn scar or in the canyon.

Interstate clean up:
Work included 204 loads hauled on Sunday, August 8, to the CDOT dumpsites at No Name (Mile Point 119) and Dotsero (MP 133) on I-70, and at MP 9.3 on Highway 82. 

On the east side of Glenwood Canyon, crews continued to work on loading trucks. The east side of Glenwood Canyon is from Hanging Lake Tunnel (MP 125) to the east. Crews cleared the remainder of the debris from the eastbound lanes at MP 124.3, which is an important area to assess in order to determine what is required to safely reopen I-70. Crews continued cleaning from Hanging Lake Tunnel to Bair Ranch, loading trucks with 110 loads on Sunday. Work will resume tomorrow with crews cleaning drainages and drop drains, and washing roadways. The priority will be to continue to clean up all the slides from Hanging Lake Tunnel to Bair Ranch on the eastbound lanes, where there is still a lot of debris.  

On the west side of Glenwood Canyon (The west side of Glenwood Canyon is west of Hanging Lake Tunnel): 94 loads were hauled on Sunday, Aug 8. Crews were able to completely uncover the remainder of the debris at the washed out area at MP 123.5 (Blue Gulch) eastbound, so that the CDOT inspections and CDOT engineering teams can get a better assessment of the damage. This is one of the most critical areas for the inspection/engineering team to inspect the potential damage now that the debris is cleared in order for visual inspection to occur.  That area measures approximately 120 feet wide on the north side/passing lane and narrows up to approximately 70 feet on the south side/driving lane (see photo). 

Crews will continue to excavate the debris mud out to original grade/solid ground today (Mon., Aug. 9).  Eastbound lanes have been cleared all the way to the MP 123.5 with rocks cleaned off (see photo). Also on the west side of the canyon, crews were able to remove a large boulder.

Priorities for Monday, August 9:

Crews will pick up where things ended on Sunday at MP 123.5. Smaller areas still need to be cleaned eastbound and westbound at MP 123 and westbound at MP 123.7-123.8, and all eastbound from Hanging Lake Tunnel to Bair Ranch.

The engineering team will be conducting inspections, with better access now that crews have been able to remove more debris.

Traffic control points at the Exit 87, CO 6 & 13 bypass, and at MP 133 are now being run by a contractor. CDOT and contractor crews are jointly managing Exit 116; CDOT is still manning both sides of CO 82 Independence Pass until the contractor can mobilize more flaggers.

CDOT: I-70 Glenwood Canyon safety closure update Monday, August 8

Latest update on support to Glenwood Canyon by state agencies

Colorado Unified Coordination Group

DENVER, Aug. 9, 2021: A Colorado Unified Coordination Group established on July 30, 2021, with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP)  and the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) supports the response efforts for the Glenwood Canyon incident.  The Colorado State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is activated at Level Three operations. Three lines of effort are underway:

  • Clear the debris from I-70, repair necessary infrastructure and reopen the highway led by CDOT. 
  • Clear or mitigate debris in the waterways that threaten critical infrastructure led by DHSEM and the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
  • Ensure the safety of drivers and communities along alternate routes led by CSP.

A disaster declaration authorizing the use of the Colorado National Guard for traffic control and debris removal was signed by the Governor on Friday. Additionally, the declaration activates the State’s Emergency Operations Plan and enables State agencies to better coordinate their response while also providing additional funds to respond to the damage and repairs needed in areas affected by burn scar flooding and slides.  Governor Polis requested $116 million in funding from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Emergency Relief program on August 8. 

CDOT formed an Incident Command (IC) to handle Glenwood Canyon response and recovery efforts. The IC structures serve to focus the department and a team of individuals on recovering from the incidents as quickly as possible.  The primary objective for CDOT is to complete emergency repairs so that all lanes of traffic are open through Glenwood Canyon before ski season begins.

CDOT crews have cleared more than 1,440 truckloads of debris from the I-70 roadway in Glenwood Canyon during the current safety closure, including 440 loads over this past weekend. By weight, up to 26 million pounds of material have been removed between Friday, July 30 and Sunday, August 8. 189 maintenance employees from around the state are assisting with closure management and clean-up efforts. There have been 14,900 man-hours completed by maintenance staff. CDOT and maintenance leadership have also been hard at work responding to this incident, as well as engineering and other CDOT teams. 

CDOT teams will continue to determine the impact to the roadway and use that information to secure Federal Highway funds for repairs to open the roadway.

The CSP is responsible for traffic management and the safety of the traveling public.  The CSP coordinates resources from the Colorado National Guard to staff traffic control points on secondary roadways with high traffic volume. The Patrol has scheduled increased staffing for a two-week period following the start of this closure. This includes an additional 22 trooper shifts focused on alternative routes.  

The CSP is requesting that motorists do not use 911 for closure or route information. This information can be found by visiting www.COtrip.org. If motorists are concerned about an aggressive driver, they are encouraged to call *CSP, please do not call 911.

Colorado SEOC and DHSEM leadership met with the FEMA Region 8 administrator on August 2 to request a joint damage assessment as the first step in requesting federal funding through FEMA.  The data from the damage assessments is required as part of the formal disaster declaration request process to show the impact on the State of Colorado and the counties involved in the Glenwood Canyon incident.  The SEOC is also coordinating with the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the United States Forest Service for debris management and recovery in the Colorado River.

The State Recovery Task Force is activated to support short and long-term recovery efforts, including securing funding to assist with the recovery from sources such as the FHWA Emergency Relief Program, U.S. Small Business Administration, Natural Resources Conservation Services, Federal Emergency Management Agency.  

The SEOC is coordinating all resource requests for the response and recovery. The current focus is on securing traffic management resources for CDOT and CSP to ensure the safety of the traveling public on the alternative routes.  The second focus is supporting the agricultural impacts. 

DHSEM regional field managers and the State Recovery Task Force led 12 state and federal agencies through the Glenwood Canyon to begin damage assessments of the river and water supply.  The damage assessment teams include the National Weather Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, DNR, U.S. Geological Survey, CDOT, CDPS, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado River Conservation District, Colorado Avalanche Information Center, U.S. Forest Service. The results of the initial assessment will quantify the damages in order to request recovery funds and create a debris management plan.  

As part of the State Recovery Task Force, an Agriculture Recovery Assessment Team conducted an initial meeting Friday to address safety concerns related to transporting animals and non-refrigerated perishable commodities along the longer alternative route. 

The Colorado Business Emergency Operations Center (BEOC) is activated and surveying the private sector to determine operational and economic impacts.  These coordination efforts have occurred with businesses through meetings with the chamber of commerce in both Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction.  The BEOC is coordinating with Suncor and Colorado Energy Office (COE) to monitor the impacts of operations and verify the current fuel supply status across the state.  An economic impact report for western slope producers is expected by August 11.   The Colorado BEOC is coordinating the response to future closure incidents through a fuel and rail working group that includes DHSEM, COE, Suncor and rail partners.  Additionally,  the Colorado BEOC is working with the Agriculture Recovery Assessment Team to identify economic impacts to producers due to the I-70 closure.

Latest update on support to Glenwood Canyon by state agencies

CDOT: Travel alert | road closure – I-70 Glenwood Canyon; Governor: disaster declaration

Colorado State Governor’s Office

Aug 2, 2021, 12:44 pm – These photos show the extreme damage from the mudslides. We are getting ready to issue the state disaster declaration and the preparing the request for a federal declaration under the Stafford Act. I was planning on joining helicopter surveillance of the damage today but due to rain and hail the choppers aren’t flying and the damage is potentially going to get even worse. Colorado Department of Transportation Execuive Director Shoshana Lew is on site in Glenwood managing the emergency. – Jared Polis, Governor

8-2-21 Glenwood Canyon
8-2-21 Glenwood Canyon
8-2-21 Glenwood Canyon

Colorado Department of Transportation

8/01/21, 4 pm – I-70 through Glenwood Canyon will continue to be closed due to “extreme damage” from the latest round of heavy rain and flooding Saturday night (7/31); this assessment was provided by senior operations supervisors and engineering staff who described damage to the viaduct structure unlike anything they had seen before. CDOT crews are assessing damage and continue to clear debris and mudflow when weather conditions are safe.

Detour route around I-70 Glenwood Canyon:
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.

For trucks planning to travel through Colorado, CDOT recommends they take I-80 through Wyoming.

Check out COtrip.org for the latest status on road conditions.

8-1-21 Glenwood Canyon
CDOT: Travel alert | road closure – I-70 Glenwood Canyon; Governor: disaster declaration