MINTURN, Colo. (CBS4) – A massive rock slide has closed a critical Colorado highway, and it isn’t the first time.
Debris from a rock slide blocks Highway 24 south of Interstate 70 near Minturn in Eagle County. Some of the damage is new, but some is old because the slide occurred in the same exact location of a massive rock slide that happened in the spring.
“One of the challenges we have here is that the fracture occurred about 1,000 feet above the roadway. That’s pretty far up,” Tracy Trulove with the Colorado Department of Transportation said. “When you see the expanse of the rock we have here, it’s a tough place to mitigate.”
A geology firm said in the spring the slope side was stable and more rock falls weren’t eminent, but about six months later there was an even bigger slide.
“When nature has its own idea of what it’s going to do there’s not any holding it back,” Trulove said.
One boulder made it about 100 yards past where many other rocks stopped and was the only one that didn’t have to get blown up so the road repairs could begin.
“We had our specialty unit who comes in and blast the boulders into smaller pieces to move them, and they had to do probably about eight boulders the size of pickup trucks out of here,” Trulove said.
On Monday crews were filling in gashes in the roadway so traffic can get back to normal.
“They’ll do their best to patch it and then they’ll usually do a cold asphalt mix just to get a temporary patch. Because until we can get back in here in the springs when the weather is better we won’t be able to do a permanent repair.”
Hundreds of people are hoping that the patchwork can be finished as early as Tuesday. Highway 24 is a main thoroughfare for people who live in towns like Red Cliff or Leadville to get to their jobs in the Vail Valley. What’s usually a 20-minute commute is taking more than 2 hours with the detour.