GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – A Flash Flood Warning prompted officials to close Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon again on Thursday. The Colorado Department of Transportation said that this is an “extended” closure and drivers are encouraged to take an alternate route.
“I-70 is closed between mile markers 116 and 133 both directions, Glenwood Springs and Dotsero, due to a flash flood warning,” the Colorado Department of Transportation tweeted Thursday afternoon.
That closure was updated and extended on Thursday night from mile marker 116 to mile marker 87, West Rifle due to a debris flow blocking the Colorado River at mile marker 124, that’s about one mile west of Hanging Lake Tunnel.
The area that’s closed is around the Grizzly Creek Fire burn scar.
Local eastbound traffic on I-70 will be allowed east of Exit 109, but motorists should expect delays. The eastbound I-70 detour is CO 13 Rifle to Craig, east on US 40 to Steamboat over Rabbit Ears Pass to Kremmling down CO 9 to Silverthorne. The westbound I-70 detour is the same as the eastbound, just in reverse.
The Colorado Department of Transportation said earlier this summer that it would close the canyon anytime there was a flash flood warning because of safety concerns.
According to CDOT, “Crews are continuing to assess the slide areas with particular attention to a debris field blocking the Colorado River at mile point 124, about one mile west of Hanging Lake Tunnel. The roadway was not impacted at this location but CDOT engineers are on site to evaluate any damage to structures. Cinnamon Creek, above the Hanging Lake Tunnel complex, also experienced a significant debris flow but the tunnel complex was not damaged.”
CDOT urged drivers to not use navigation apps to look for alternate routes because there are many auxiliary roads such as Cottonwood Pass, Hagerman Pass and Eagle/Thomasville Road that are not passable and do not have cell service. Cottonwood Pass is restricted to local traffic only.
Numerous mudslides from the Grizzly Creek Fire burn scar have overtaken this section of the interstate in previous weeks.
The same stretch of interstate was closed Wednesday for several hours.