GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — Both decks of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon have partially reopened nearly a month after a rock slide closed the major east-west highway.
One eastbound lane and one westbound lane reopened to traffic Wednesday, ending the need for pace cars, which were put in place last month. There is a 35 mph speed limit as crews continue repair work.
A rock slide on Feb. 15 closed a 24-mile stretch of the interstate for nearly a week, causing a 200-mile detour through Steamboat Springs and Craig. Earlier on Feb. 15, traffic was slowed in both directions after several boulders fell onto the highway.
On Feb. 20, one lane of the interstate reopened from 4 p.m. to 9 a.m. as drivers were guided by pace cars. It was closed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. as crews worked to remove a large amount of debris.
On Feb. 25, one lane in each direction reopened with a six-mile stretch of the eastbound lanes used, with one lane for eastbound traffic and the second lane for westbound drivers led by pace cars.
“Favorable weather (Tuesday) allowed the project team to progress critical rockfall fencing work and road repairs necessary to safely move traffic onto the westbound deck,” the Colorado Department of Transportation said in a news release. “With this change in the configuration, pace cars will no longer be utilized.”
Officials said there will be a heavy presence by the Colorado State Patrol to enforce the slower speed limit.
“There is always the chance that we may need to convert back to the head-to-head traffic on the eastbound deck to perform critical work on the westbound lanes,” Colorado Department of Transportation project engineer Justin Kuhn said in a statement.
“In the event we do that, the pace cars would be reinstated and that configuration would primarily be in place during daytime working hours.”
CDOT estimates the slide caused about $2 million to $5 million in damage to the interstate. The rest areas at the Hanging Lake, Grizzly Creek and Shohone remain closed as is the Glenwood Canyon bike path.