GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — It was a sight for sore eyes, as the first drivers navigated Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon Saturday morning.
The vital interstate, back open for the first time in two weeks, after devastating mudslides buried cars, and destroyed entire portions of roadway.
“It’s pretty incredible what work needed to be done, and what damage was done,” Autumn Bair said.
She was able to escape by running home to Bair Ranch, returning the next day to see the devastation.
“I’m surprised they’re getting it open in two weeks, I really am,” she said.
She said the interstate being reopened will shave an hour plus off her drive into work, while allowing tourists easy access to Bair Ranch.
“We run a little tourist business out of the ranch, and that’s been completely shut down,” she said. “So the fact that we can get our business back from the West is a really big deal for us.”
The Colorado Department of Transportation said plenty of work remains to return the interstate to its original state, something that may not happen until Thanksgiving.
“In an effort to get that highway reopen, we went with doing the temporary repairs so we could get traffic moving,” Tracy Trulove said. “It will take us several months to work on the longer permanent repairs.”
Trulove said there are countless areas in a one-mile stretch that need significant repair, including replacing guardrails, building new walls, and digging out culverts filled with debris.
She hopes getting the interstate back open, even at slower speeds, will relieve some of the pressure drivers have been facing.
“I think for many people, there is a sigh of relief that Glenwood Canyon is back open, and we can take some of that pressure off of the alternate routes,” she said. “We’ll just keep asking for patience from our traveling public because I think we’ll be in this situation for a while.”