Polis declares Glenwood Canyon mudslides disaster

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DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis issued two disaster declarations for the Glenwood Canyon mudslides that have halted traffic through the Interstate 70 corridor in western Colorado, upsetting everything from local travel to intrastate shipping in the process.

The first declaration allows the use of the Colorado National Guard for traffic control and debris removal, as well as providing additional funding. The second authorizes Colorado to seek federal funding assistance.

“The I-70 corridor through Glenwood Canyon is critical to Colorado’s economy and necessary for Coloradans to swiftly move around the state,” Polis wrote in a press statement. “Glenwood Canyon plays a major part in the daily lives of communities across the Western Slope as well as in moving our supply chain across the state, supporting our outdoor recreation industry, and so much more. This disaster declaration will help to deploy more resources to clear the canyon and ensure Colorado prepares for future disasters that may impact this critical juncture on I-70.”

The state closed I-70 indefinitely the first day of August following two months of mudslides and flooding in burn scar areas.

On Monday, Polis said it would likely be days or weeks before the major freeway would be open for traffic again.

Polis intends to seek federal disaster status from the White House, which would provide more funding.

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