Rock Slides Caused Millions In Damage

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – This week’s full closure of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon due to rock slides will most likely continue until this weekend.

Officials with the Colorado Department of Transportation said on Thursday afternoon they don’t expect to allow any vehicles through the canyon until Saturday, and when that happens it will only be in a very limited fashion.

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The highway has been closed to traffic from Glenwood Springs to Dotsero since late Monday night, when there were two large rock slides that damaged the highway. Since then, extensive work has been done by CDOT crews on the canyon walls to try to prevent more slides.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

On Thursday foggy conditions, plus rain and some snow, slowed CDOT’s process down. A helicopter that had been helping to mitigate the rock danger on Tuesday and Wednesday was unable to fly on Thursday.

When CDOT opens the highway, only one lane will be open. Vehicles will be guided by a pilot car back and forth through the canyon in single file.

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“We’ll take one lane of eastbound traffic through. We’ll go and we’ll turn around and we’ll bring westbound traffic through,” said CDOT spokeswoman Amy Ford.

It’s unclear exactly how long it will take before more lanes will be opened through the canyon.

“We expect that will be in place for several days. For people who are coming through there, they could expect delays of an hour or more,” Ford said.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

CDOT officials say the rock slides caused approximately $2 to $5 million damage. They are assessing whether they’ll ask for federal disaster assistance funds to help cover the cost.

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CDOT has designated two detour routes for drivers, one to the north through Wolcott, and another to the south over Monarch Pass and through Gunnison. Both will take about the same time.