Burn scars from last year’s fires, plus monsoon rains, equals flashfloods and mudslides impacting canyon travel. This last round was the worst yet for Glenwood Canyon.
I-70 through Glenwood Canyon will continue to be closed due to “extreme damage” from the latest round of heavy rain and flooding Saturday night (July 31). This assessment was provided by senior operations supervisors and engineering staff who described damage to the viaduct structure, unlike anything they had seen before.
CDOT crews are assessing damage and continue to clear debris and mudflow when weather conditions are safe. Motorists are recommended to use the alternative northern route as described below. For trucks planning to travel through Colorado, CDOT recommends they take Interstate 80 through Wyoming.
Detour route around I-70 Glenwood Canyon
CDOT strongly asks that motorists use the recommended northern alternate route via I-70 – CO 9 – US 40 – CO 13. Westbound motorists from the Denver metro area should exit I-70 at Exit 205 (Silverthorne) and travel north on Colorado Highway 9 towards Kremmling. Travelers will continue west on US Highway 40 and then south on CO 13 to complete the alternate route and return to westbound I-70 at Rifle (Exit 90). Eastbound travelers can detour using the same route in reverse.
This stretch of I-70 continues to be impacted by mudslides due to last year’s Grizzley Creek wildfire. Additionally, nearly twice the average amount of rainfall for the month of July, fell in just 5 days leading up to this latest disaster. Mudslides blocked travelers on both sides, leading to evacuation efforts.
“We are getting ready to issue the state disaster declaration and the preparing the request for a federal declaration under the Staffard Act,” shared Governor Polis on August 2, 2021. If approved, the declaration will allow Colorado to request federal relief funds to assist in the re-opening of this very important transportation corridor.
This is the 10th time this corridor has been closed this season, and this closure may last for weeks. When it does open, it will be one lane for quite some time. Anyone planning to travel through this area should check the status and plan an alternate route. Find the latest travel conditions by going to COtrip.org
Work is being done to figure out better alternate routes through this problem area of I-70.