(CBS4) – Interstate 70 is back open through Glenwood Canyon in western Colorado. The closure lasted a little less than an hour Monday night.
The interstate has been closed several times recently when Flash Flood Warnings have gone into effect in the area. Monday night’s warning went into effect just before 5 p.m. and expired a little less than an hour later.
“A Flash Flood Warning that had been effect for the Grizzly Creek burn area is now a Flash Flood Watch. There were no debris flow or mudslides during the Flash Flood Warning,” CDOT officials wrote in a travel alert.
⚠️ UPDATE: CDOT crews are reopening I-70 in Glenwood Canyon. A Flash Flood Warning that had been effect for the Grizzly Creek burn area is now a Flash Flood Watch. There were no debris flow or mudslides during the Flash Flood Warning. All updates at https://t.co/uOU0HHbUQ6. https://t.co/UTynSVqogF pic.twitter.com/PrUybkj5Cl
— Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) (@ColoradoDOT) July 6, 2021
Several mudslides have come down the canyon walls and covered the roadway with debris during heavy rain events so far this summer. The most recent debris flows were on Saturday and the I-70 closure that resulted stretched into Sunday as a massive cleanup effort took place.
The likelihood of debris flows in the canyon during heavy rainstorms is a result of the Grizzly Creek Fire, which burned up and down the canyon walls last year. The burn scar that resulted has little plant grown in it to keep the soil in the canyonsides from eroding.
If an I-70 closure through the canyon lasts for more than an hour, CDOT recommends drivers take the alternative route. That route is to the north of the canyon and adds approximately 2.5 hours to the drive in either direction.
“It’s just not an ideal place for short detours,” said CDOT Region 3 Transportation Director Mike Goolsby on Sunday.
If such a recommendation is put into place, the following is the route to take:
WESTBOUND I-70: Motorists coming from the Denver metro area or Interstate 25 can travel westbound on I-70 to Silverthorne, then turn north onto Highway 9. In Kremmling, travelers should turn onto westbound Highway 40 towards Steamboat Springs. After reaching Craig, motorists can return south via Highway 13 towards Rifle. Access to I-70 westbound is at Rifle.
EASTBOUND I-70: Motorists traveling eastbound from Utah or Grand Junction can reach the Denver metro area by traveling north from Rifle on Highway 13 to Craig. From there, head east on Highway 40 through Steamboat Springs. Either take Highway 131 south to Wolcott and onto I-70 from there or continue on Highway 40 through to Kremmling and head south on Highway 9, then join up with eastbound I-70 again at Silverthorne.
No injuries have been reported in any of the mudslides.