SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Avalanche mitigation work on Interstate 70 in the high country has halted traffic flow for several hours, and drivers are trying to remain patient. The work is being done on the Summit County side of the Eisenhower Johnson Memorial Tunnels to Herman Gulch.

Tuesday morning, eight feet of snow slid across the eastbound lanes while 15 feet covered the other direction. The Colorado Department of Transportation says the amount of snow released on Mount Bethel is historic.

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“We are waiting in traffic because supposedly they are doing avalanche mitigation up there. We’re just hanging trying to be very patient after a wonderful vacation,” said Marty Loughridge from Castle Rock.

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The highway was shut down since around 9:20 a.m. One lane going east reopened just after 5 p.m., and westbound lanes were opened at 6 p.m.

(credit: Alan Amstutz)

“I got the day off. I’m with my family. That’s all that really matters,” Loughridge said.

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The mitigation work comes after several avalanches sent snow crashing out onto the highway near Copper Mountain on Sunday and Monday.