Blasting Work Begins At DeBeque Canyon Rockslide Site

After some delays, efforts to stabilize a portion of Interstate 70 in DeBeque Canyon got underway Tuesday afternoon.

The work commenced with a bang, a cloud of dust and flying rocks, but Tuesday's blast was just the beginning. "We want to see how it (rock) reacts to each blast and at this point, we'll see what kind of drilling patterns we need to use," Engineer Ty Ortiz with CDOT said.

Following the fatal rockslide over the weekend, initial examinations by engineers found a tension crack behind a loose slab of sandstone, indicating a weak zone in the rock face. "At this point we think we can get a good handle and can blast the rock back to the tension crack to hopefully stabilize the slope," Ortiz said.

With the blasting work underway, a short stretch of I–70 westbound has been converted into a two–way road, however, at this point no traffic snags have been reported. "The detour is safe and moving well, folks can expect about a 5-to-10 minute delay, but that's about it," CDOT Maintenance Supervisor Weldon Allen said.

Engineers have no set time frame on when the work will be complete, saying safety is the first priority.