I-70 in mountains reopens for passenger vehicles

DENVER -- Strong winds caused semitrucks to blow over and forced the closure of Interstate 70 in the mountains for nearly an hour on Friday morning, the Colorado Department of Transportation said.

A wind gust of 104 mph was recorded on Berthoud Pass early Friday morning. Winds were howling out of the mountain and foothill canyons, fueling two grass fires in Boulder County that prompted nearly 300 homes to be evacuated.

Westbound Interstate 70 was closed at Beaver Brook (exit 248) and eastbound lanes were closed at Silverthorne (exit 205) because of strong winds and unsafe driving conditions before 10 a.m. CDOT said.

It reopened to passenger vehicles only about 10:45 a.m. A travel restriction for high-profile vehicles and light or empty trailers between Dotsero and C-470 remained in place by CDOT.

Two semitrucks tipped over in the Georgetown area, causing traffic to back up in the area. There was no word if there were any injuries.

One semitruck is in the median blocking one lane of eastbound traffic. The other semitruck is in the westbound lanes on the shoulder.

The Colorado Department of Transportation reported wind gusts of 75 mph in the area. There also have been reports of passenger vehicle windshields shattering.

A semitruck toppled over on southbound Interstate 25 one mile north of the Highway 119 exit east of Longmont about 7:30 a.m.

The truck blocked two lanes of the interstate, CDOT said. Traffic got by on the right shoulder before all lanes reopened about 9 a.m.

The driver was taken to a Longmont hospital to be treated for minor injuries, the Colorado State Patrol said. The truck was leaking a little bit of fuel but was not hauling hazardous materials.

U.S. 6 over Loveland Pass was closed in both directions between mile markers 220 and 229 because of safety concerns.

Denver International Airport reported some flight delays because of the wind. Some arriving flights were being delayed by an average of nearly one hour, 45 minutes.

A ground stop was also ordered for flights to the northwest because of strong turbulence but it has since been lifted.

Howling winds also are knocking over trees in Rocky Mountain National Park, officials said.