Gov. Polis says Glenwood Canyon could be shut down for ‘days or weeks’

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GOLDEN, Colo. (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis said cleanup operations through Glenwood Canyon after mudslides and flooding have caused shutdowns and damage to Interstate 70 may take days or weeks to complete.

Polis is concerned with the potential for major damage to the I-70 viaduct, and said when the highway does reopen, it will likely only be one lane in each direction.

The governor said he’s not exactly sure when I-70 would reopen. “The best case is a few days more likely getting into the weeks (range),” Polis said.  

The highway closure has sparked some concern in Glenwood Springs which remains open.  

At the Colorado White Water Rafting Company, there have been lots of calls from tourists.  

“We do have a section on the Colorado River that will go from Glenwood Springs down to New Castle,” White Water Rafting Company Owner Phoebe Larsson said. 

The Glenwood Chamber of Commerce Tourist division says business owners are struggling because of a slowdown, even though the city is accessible through alternate routes.  

“I’m hearing from businesses today that their reservations are dropping off because people think that Glenwood Springs isn’t open and Glenwood Springs is definitely open!” Director of Tourist Promotion with Visit Glenwood Springs spokesperson Lisa Langer said.  

The state of Colorado is preparing to issue a state disaster declaration and request a federal declaration under the Stafford Act.

Colorado Department of Transportation officials joined Polis, as well as Department of Public Safety Executive Director Stan Hilkey, and Colorado State Patrol Chief Col. Matthew Packard.

You can re-watch the press conference on FOX31 NOW in the player below.

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