GLENWOOD CANYON, Colo. (KDVR) — After last summer’s mudslides closed Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon for stretches at a time, closures are again possible this year as monsoon season moves in.
The Colorado Department of Transportation said that anytime there is a flash flood warning for the Grizzly Creek burn scar, which is in Glenwood Canyon, I-70 will be closed from Glenwood Springs to Dotsero because of the risk of mudslides. Eastbound traffic will usually be stopped in Rifle, although depending on where the warning is, this could change.
CDOT, Colorado State Patrol and local agencies will assist with evacuating the canyon as quickly as possible.
The safety closure will continue until CDOT determines it is safe to reopen I-70. It will depend on whether floods, mudslides or significant rainfall in the immediate area are making an impact on conditions.
What alternate routes can I take to avoid Glenwood Canyon?
- Westbound I-70: Westbound motorists from the Denver metro area can travel north around the closure via US Highway 40, Colorado Highway 9 or Colorado Highway 131. Travelers can then 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). Motorists should anticipate heavy traffic at the Silverthorne interchange (exit 205) due to construction in the area.
- Eastbound I-70: A traffic control point is in place at eastbound West Rifle (exit 87) to guide motorists to the northern alternate route. Visitors and local traffic traveling eastbound on I-70 to Glenwood Springs and destinations in the Roaring Fork Valley will have access to eastbound I-70 in order to reach their destination.
Dangerous detours to avoid when I-70 is closed through Glenwood Canyon
CDOT discourages travelers from taking certain detours that could show up on navigation apps but could put travelers in danger.
“We strongly discourage travelers from using highways south of I-70 for an alternate route, due to extensive construction closures,” CDOT has said. “We also ask 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.”
CDOT urges travelers to use COtrip.org or CDOT’s mobile application to choose the best route to reach their final destination.
Stay up to date with the weather
If you are planning to travel through Glenwood Canyon, you should plan ahead by keeping an eye on the forecast and checking road conditions.
Bookmark these tools to keep them handy for when you need them:
Be sure to download the free Pinpoint Weather app to get vital weather information sent straight to your phone.