(CBS4 / AP) Part of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon remains closed after a series of mudslides triggered over the weekend by rainfall near where wildfire burned last year. The Grizzly Creek Fire began in August 2020 and burned many parts of the steep canyon; Erosion in the burn scar is now a problem.
While I-70 eastbound lanes from Rifle to Dotsero were expected to open later Monday thanks to overnight cleanups, there is no estimate of when the westbound freeway lanes will reopen, the Colorado Department of said Transportation with. Drivers should expect dusty conditions in the canyon when the road is reopened.
To circumvent the closure, officials provided drivers with an alternative route through northern Colorado. It adds about 2.5 hours to your journey:
WESTBOUND I-70: Motorists coming from Greater Denver or Interstate 25 can travel west on I-70 to Silverthorne and then turn north on CO 9. In Kremmling, travelers should turn west on US Highway 40 towards Steamboat Springs. Upon reaching Craig, motorists can return south towards Rifle via CO 13. Access to I-70 to the west is at Rifle.
EASTBOUND I-70: Motorists traveling east from Utah or Grand Junction can access the Denver Metro area by reversing the route above.
I70 remains closed. Please use the suggested alternative routes and be patient and safe. https://t.co/bjnHjLN7U6
– CSP Eagle (@CSP_Eagle) June 28, 2021
For drivers taking a different route south, the Colorado State Patrol reminded drivers that it is illegal to drive a vehicle over 35 feet in length over Independence Pass. Violations can result in a fine of $ 1,100
The largest of the mudslides that occurred along Colorado’s main east-west road on Sunday flowed through the same drain as the one that occurred along the Burn Scar on Saturday.
The wildfire began on August 10th and was declared 100% contained on December 18th. It burned 32,631 acres in and around Glenwood Canyon.
The main mudslide on Sunday reached 80 feet wide and 5 feet deep in areas.
On Saturday, the mud spread over 70 feet and was 1.5 meters deep in places. The highway closure on Saturday lasted several hours.
UPDATE: How experts are trying to deal with mudslides in Glenwood Canyon closing I-70
Travelers may face interruptions to I-70 at Glenwood Canyon if rain is expected in the area this summer, said Kane Schneider, a CDOT transportation maintenance officer.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)