GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4)– The community of Glenwood Springs is seeing an impact to business as a result of the Interstate 70 closure through Glenwood Canyon. For drivers willing to make the trek, they say the added detour time is worth it.
“I definitely would encourage it,” said Shawn Weber, who traveled to Glenwood Springs with his family from Denver. “It’s a beautiful place, great food, great people… we were actually enjoying some of the benefits of not having so many tourists at this time.”
CBS4 met Weber and his family at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, where there were hardly any lines for cavern tours or rides. Great for tourists, not so much for business.
“Year over year, business is down but we’re looking for ways to communicate to the public that we’re open and that they can get here and we’re looking forward to seeing them,” said Suzanne Emery, Sales and Marketing PR representative for Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
August is the busiest month for tourism in the town and while Emery doesn’t have the exact numbers for revenue loss at the park, she knows it’s down.
“You know, just looking around I think 50%… it could be in that range and weekends are different,” she said.
Officials and business owners met to discuss the impact Wednesday night, in addition to visitor’s reluctance to travel, there was one topic all agreed upon.
“There’s a lot of miscommunications about coming into Glenwood Springs from the west,” said Emery, “CDOT maps are showing that I-70 is closed from Rifle coming into Glenwood Springs, and then Google maps is showing a closure in the south canyon which is just west of here coming into Glenwood Springs.”
I-70 is open from Rifle to Glenwood, and business owners believe the fact that CDOT maps say otherwise, is deterring traffic from the west in addition to those taking the northern detour.
“We’re coming together, we’re figuring out ways to put some messaging together to correct erroneous information that’s out there,” she said.
You don’t have to talk to business owners to see that it’s had a negative impact.
“We went downtown Glenwood last night for some dinner and stuff, and they had the farmers out and it was kind of bleak. You could tell that people are kind of hurting for business and travel,” said Weber.
Emery said businesses hope to have an update from CDOT on the progress of the cleanup by the end of the week.
“Amtrak, I believe, is hoping to open the rail option coming into Glenwood from the east within the next couple of days as well,” she said.
In the meantime, there are alternative routes to get to Glenwood Springs. CBS4 took the northern detour into town with minor traffic through Steamboat Springs. On the way back, CBS4 opted for Cottonwood Pass which was no more than an hour to Gypsum with no issues, and little traffic.
A 46-mile stretch of I-70 in Glenwood Canyon remains closed with no estimate on when it may reopen after the Grizzly Creek Fire burn area was targeted by flash floods resulting in devastating mudslides last week and over the weekend.
For the latest updates on closures and alternative routes, CDOT recommends you check COtrip.org.