SILVER PLUME, Colo. — The Colorado Department of Transportation will be dropping 30-50 pound explosives on several slide paths along Interstate 70 as part of its helicopter avalanche mitigation operations on Sunday, March 10. The work will happen on both sides of the Eisenhower Tunnel.
- 8:30-9:30 a.m. Mission on Big Marvin slide path on Vail Pass (mile point 186)
- 11:00-Noon Mission in 10 Mile Canyon (mile point 196 east of Copper Mountain)
- 1:30-2:00 p.m. Mission on Silver Cloud and Bard Shoulder slide paths in Silver Plume
Stacia Sellers, Central 70 Communications Manager states, says it is impossible for CDOT to know the estimated time for reopening because there is no way to know how much snow will come down once mitigation begins.
"We could be looking at anywhere between a 30-minute closure, up to a 7-hour closure," Sellers said.
In addition to mitigation, the CDOT and Colorado Avalanche Information Center are also cleaning up debris and have additional snow cleanup because of the mitigation work.
"It's really just using your best judgment, knowing I-70 or other roads might close for several hours, and having a backup plan, or be flexible with any plans on I-70," Sellers said.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has identified many mountain ranges in western Colorado as being at high risk for avalanche slides. It is very likely that a natural slide could occur and motorists should plan for unexpected closures as well. There is also the possibility of large debris fields with trees and rocks mixed with snow in these slides which can take maintenance operations longer to clear.
CDOT suggestions for what to do if you encounter an avalanche while driving:
·Pull over to shoulder if possible
·Turn off your vehicle
·Remain in your car
·Call 911 and request help
·Make sure you are prepared with an emergency kit and adequate traction. An emergency kit should include jumper cables, flares or reflective triangles, ice scraper, car cellphone charger, blanket, map, cat litter or sand for traction, food, and water.
For information on travel conditions and road closures, please visit trip.org or call 511. Updates are also available via Twitter @coloradodot and CDOT’s Facebook page atFacebook.com/coloradodot.