GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (KDVR) — As the closure of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon continues, calls are intensifying for the Colorado Department of Transportation to explore alternative routes.
Governor Jared Polis and CDOT requested $116 million in disaster funding from the federal government. Roughly $50 million of that is earmarked for “future resiliency and redundancy study and construction costs,” which includes researching and building an alternative route should I-70 be shut down again.
“We’ve got to have a serious, realistic alternative, if situations like this are going to come up,” CDOT Communications Director Matt Inzeo said.
Inzeo said one potential option is Cottonwood Pass, a partially paved route south of the canyon.
In recent days, many locals have relied on the harrowing route as a way to get around the I-70 closure, according to Eagle County officials.
“With the increased traffic, there are many spots on the road that are narrow, steep, blind spots, things like that,” County Engineer Ben Gerdes said.
Inzeo said it’s unclear how much it would cost to make the road a viable alternative, and if it’s even an option.
“We’re certainly going to look at it, because if you look at a map, that is the closest road that is nearby,” he said. “That alternative doesn’t mean an entire four lane interstate. What we need is a road that is nearby, that can function and serve this purpose sometimes for days, even weeks when necessary.”