GLENWOOD CANYON, Colo. (KDVR) — The good news is lots of progress was made Thursday in preparing to reopen I-70 in Glenwood Canyon after rockslides shut it down. But a lot could still go wrong.
The latest photos from the Colorado Department of Transportation show the repair progress being made on I-70 in Glenwood Canyon as what has been described by Gov. Jared Polis as the “pothole from Hell.”
The burning question now is whether I-70 will really be ready to open Saturday afternoon.
“A lot could still go wrong. One of the most important is to complete our safe to open procedures. We want to make sure this thing is safe,” CDOT Deputy Chief Engineer Keith Stefanik said.
One thing that’s been helpful to make progress toward Polis’ stated goal is that it has been dry.
“I really believe if Mother Nature holds up and we don’t have any medium to large size events, I think we are on path to get this open Saturday afternoon,” added Stefanik.
This lack of precipitation in the Grizzly Creek burn area allowed crews to clean up and repair additional areas of Interstate 70.
Crews took out more than 200 loads of debris from westbound and eastbound lanes at mile marker 123.5 (Blue Gulch) on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, crews hauled 45 loads out from the area around westbound mile marker 123.5 to make room for “super sacks” to be built up as a barrier for future mudslides. Crews also worked to clear and open a drain at that location. A total of 156 super sacks were put in place by a crane on Wednesday. Crews were able reroute the Blue Creek flow via pipe under the super sack pad and direct it toward a downstream drop drain.
Work on the eastbound side of I-70 was focused mainly between Hanging Lake Tunnel and Bair Ranch, as CDOT said there is still a lot of debris in the area.
Travel will be limited to one-lane between mile marker 123.5 to approximately mile marker 124.2 for several months after it reopens on Saturday.
Grizzly Creek Rest Area, Hanging Lake Rest Area and Bair Ranch Rest Area will remain closed.
The Shoshone Rest Area and No Name Rest Area will be open when I-70 opens.
While all this happens, places like the Boneyard Restaurant in Eagle are ready for the highway to open.
“We can’t wait. We want to see more customers come back. We want to see businesses go back to normal, said owner Yuri Kostick.
The onslaught of cars into the community brought to a trickle because of the highway closure.
“The traveling customers are gone. They are not here because there is no one coming this way. It’s completely cut off any interstate customers that we’ve had at all,” added Kostick.
The Boneyard says it’s thankful for support from the local community that loves the burgers and tacos and has kept it busy even with the highway shutdown.
The Boneyard and so many other businesses in the affected areas, now have their fingers crossed, hoping, and praying for clear skies so crews can get I-70 open once again.