GLENWOOD CANYON, Colo. (KDVR) — Interstate 70 is fully open through the Glenwood Canyon area after cleanup of several mudslides that left up to nine feet of debris in the roadway.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, a flash flood warning came down at 3:05 p.m. Saturday at which point crews closed the highway in both directions.
CDOT said shortly after that there were five mudslides through a 2-mile span just east of the Hanging Lake tunnels.
Initially the highway was closed in both directions, but crews were able to open the westbound lanes Sunday morning.
One of the slides buried the highway with about 9 feet of debris.
A CDOT spokesperson told FOX31 News there were about a dozen vehicles that began driving through the canyon before the closure and got trapped between slides. All of them were able to drive out and no tow trucks were needed. There were also no injuries reported.
This area has been closed several times over the last week after a few mudslides caked the road of soupy debris last weekend. Safety closures have been expected as precipitation continues to fall over the Grizzly Creek burn scar.
CDOT recommends travelers use the provided alternate route, and said if drivers decide to wait it out, they must be off the highway. The map of the detour provided for the closures is below.
For future travel CDOT recommends going through the canyon in the morning since most of the storms that cause the slides occur in the afternoon.
CDOT is hoping to open the eastbound lanes by 7 p.m.
“Our crews are dealing with the challenge of a very sloppy, wet, messy material. As one of them said, ‘It’s very difficult to corral this material,’” a CDOT spokesperson said Sunday morning.
As for future closures, a CDOT spokesperson said they are expected to continue every time a flash flood warning is issued. This leads to detours that will add several hours to some drives.
“It’s just not an ideal place for short detours,” a CDOT manager said.