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Update on I-70 Glenwood Canyon trapped motorists

Glenwood Canyon I-70 Closure 07/29-07/30
Glenwood Canyon I-70 Closure 07/29-07/30(Colorado Department of Transportation)
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 5:09 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Colorado Department of Transportation held a Zoom meeting at 3 p.m. today, regarding the current closure on I-70 in Glenwood Canyon and the motorists who were trapped in Hanging Lake Tunnel due to the mudslides.

The current closure is from Exit 87 (West Rifle) to Exit 133 (Dotsero). The closure is expected to last through the weekend, if not longer, due to flash flood warnings and possible mudslide and debris flows predicted for this weekend.

Background information:

At 4:30 p.m. yesterday, I-70 was closed due to flash flood warning.

At 6 p.m., the flash flood warning was lifted and the road was reopened.

At 9 p.m., a new flash flood warning went into effect after storm cells quickly built up in the area. Within the hour, heavy rains hit the canyon, mudslides and debris reached I-70 within minutes.

108 motorists were caught in the debris flows, they were evacuated from Glenwood Canyon and moved to safe locations in Glenwood Springs.

There were also 29 motorists who sought shelter overnight from the mudslides in Hanging Lake Tunnel. They were trapped in the tunnel and were later rescued by CDOT crews around 6:30 a.m. today. There were no reported injuries.

Crews are still cleaning up the mudslides and debris, but they are delayed due to more expected flash flood warnings throughout the weekend.

CDOT has been taking a number of actions to try and stabilize the road, given the unpredictable weather conditions.

They developed a protocol to anticipate and respond to the threat of flash floods and possible debris flows by closing the roads when flash flood warnings are issued and reopening when it’s confirmed safe to do so.

Additional measures include, building mitigation fencing along the roadway and working to increase the vegetation in the Grizzly Creek burn scar area.

For more updates on the road closure, please visit cotrip.org.

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