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I-70 over Vail Pass reopens in both directions after avalanche

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. -- Interstate 70 was closed in both directions over Vail Pass because of an avalanche early Tuesday morning, the Colorado State Patrol said.

The avalanche happened about 2:40 a.m. near mile marker 186.4, in a part of the pass known as the Narrows.

Westbound lanes were closed at Copper Mountain (mile marker 195) and eastbound lanes were closed in Vail (mile marker 176). Westbound lanes reopened about 12:45 p.m. and the eastbound lanes reopened about 3:45 p.m.

There was snow up to 15 feet of snow in parts of the westbound lanes. One mail-carrying semitruck got caught in the avalanche, the Colorado State Patrol said. The driver was not injured and no other vehicles were involved.

The Colorado State Patrol said warm temperatures Monday followed by rain and sleet, then early-morning snow on Tuesday contributed to the increase in avalanche risk.

All commercial motor vehicles traveling eastbound were stopped at the Dotsero emergency truck parking lot at Exit 133 until the interstate reopened.

On the Western Slope, westbound I-70 was closed at Exit 15 because a semitruck crashed, blocking the lanes. Low visibility and icy conditions contributed to the crash, the Colorado State Patrol said.

The Colorado State Patrol encouraged drivers to exit in Fruita, saying it will be an "hours-long closure."