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In the summer of 2020, forest fires were the leading cause of life loss, property destruction and road closures in Colorado. This year, the state has weathered flash floods, mudslides, rockfalls and forest fires, which resulted in a series of road closures over the weekend, including a fire that caused another shutdown of Interstate 70. Meanwhile, a second body was recovered from floods and landslides in Poudre Canyon, but two people are still missing.
The only full closure currently reported on cotrip, the travel website maintained by the Colorado Department of Transportation, relates to the US 50 between Montrose and Gunnison, which has extensive closings during the week for important road works – and starting this week, motorists, the US 6. benefit in Clear Creek Canyon, due to an extensive paving project that includes shoulder widening and the replacement of guardrails, traffic restrictions and temporary road blockades can be expected. The crews are expected to complete the project by the end of the summer.
Another major shutdown is planned for next weekend, however: As part of CDOT’s Central 70 project, I-70 will be closed to the west from Friday, July 30th, 10 p.m. to Monday, August 2, 5 a.m. Operations. “The closure was postponed from earlier this month.
In the meantime, there were several unexpected shutdowns in the entire motorway system over the past weekend. All locks have now been lifted, but I-70 through Glenwood Canyon was temporarily closed on both Saturday and Sunday due to flash flood warnings, with additional one-day access locks with mudslides on I-70 between exits 42 and 44 near Palisade , CO 141 outside Naturita and CO 145 at Mile Post 94.
That’s not all. CO 133 on Chair Mountain Drive was temporarily impassable due to a landslide, and wildfire triggered a lengthy traffic block on I-70 between Gypsum and Eagle. These lanes have also been cleared in the meantime.
The flood and mudslide cleanup along the Cache la Poudre River, not far from Fort Collins, involves the grim task of searching for people believed lost in the midst of environmental degradation. Here is a map of the affected area from the site dedicated to the incident:
A woman’s body was recovered last week, and on July 24, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office released a summary of efforts to find more victims. A four-person Larimer County search and rescue team, assisted by three dogs and dozen volunteers, spent the day working with heavy machinery operators to “examine large piles of debris,” and while no remains were found at dusk, lowered Water levels raised optimism that the team could visit areas around Black Hollow Creek Road that had previously been flooded.
The following day, July 25, the crews found the body of an adult man in the river near mile 92.
CDOT continues to warn that travelers should be prepared for disruption and road closures due to weather issues for at least the rest of this week – and possibly beyond.
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Michael Roberts has been writing for Westword since October 1990, where he worked as a music editor and media columnist. It currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.