Just after 9 pm last night nearly 585 tons of rock slid onto interstate 70. The rubble crushed a semi truck traveling on the interstate, killing a Grand Junction woman. The coroners office has identified the victim as fifty–three–year old Patricia Bradshaw. According to the Colorado State Patrol, the Bradshaw was killed instantly by nearly 320 tons of rock.
Due to the enormous amount of rock covering the road, 15 trucks were stranded for the night on the interstate because they could not pass over the detour or turn around. C-Dot officials say that the rock-slide is in a similar area to another slide that happened late last month, but the two slides are not related. Authorities believe that recent severe weather may have contributed to the slide.
"We have had a lot of rain in the past 3 or 4 days and a rock fall like this can happen in any location in our canyons and just put people on notice. Please be careful! Rockfalls are part of the life in Western Colorado," explains Weldon Allen, Transportation Maintenance Superintendent of the Mesa Region.
Crews are currently working to clear and prepare the area to be reopened, by using explosives and scaling banks to reduce rock on the mountain side. C-Dot expects that tonight around 6 o'clock west bound lanes will be open for both east and westbound traffic use. Conditions will remain like this for the next three to five days, until all of the rock has been removed and blasted.