(CBS4) – Interstate 70 has fully reopened in western Colorado following the latest round of mudslides in Glenwood Canyon. The slides continue to create problems for road crews trying to keep the highway clear this summer.
A Flash Flood Warning went into effect on Saturday afternoon and the interstate was fully closed from Dotsero to Rifle. Soon afterwards several slides cascaded down the canyon in the area where last year’s Grizzly Creek Fire left a burn scar. There were five different points in the canyon where the mud moved onto the interstate. It happened 10 miles east of Glenwood Springs at mile marker 128.
At 5 a.m. on Sunday the Colorado Department of Transportation reopened one westbound lane through Glenwood Canyon. Then around 4 p.m. the eastbound lanes were reopened.
“CDOT maintenance crews have been working diligently to open I-70 Glenwood Canyon after multiple mudslides closed the interstate yesterday afternoon,” CDOT officials wrote in a news release Sunday morning. “Trucks have been carrying hundreds of loads of debris away from the mudslide sites. But removal of the debris has been a challenge for crews because the material is wet, sloppy, and difficult to contain.
The speed limit is being reduced to 40 mph in some areas of the canyon due to dust issues.
CDOT had recommended that drivers take an alternative route to get around the I-70 closure. That route is to the north of the canyon and added approximately 2.5 hours to the drive.
“It’s just not an ideal place for short detours,” said CDOT Region 3 Transportation Director Mike Goolsby on Sunday.
CDOT recently warned drivers who might get stopped in a traffic jam due to a closure in Glenwood Canyon to stay in their vehicles. They wrote: “Never hang out in the grassy median located between lanes. If traffic is moving in the opposite direction, the median can be a hazardous area. Emergency response vehicles and heavy equipment may also need the median area to move about and access the emergency scene.”
No injuries have been reported in any of the mudslides.
A Colorado Springs woman who was was in harm’s way described to CBS4 the moment a mudslide came crashing over her vehicle and others while driving through the canyon last week.