I-70 Glenwood Canyon Update: August 31, 2021
Colorado Department of Transportation Update
- Since the previous update last week, crews have hauled out over 190 loads of debris out of the Canyon.
- Weather remained relatively dry allowing the Canyon to remain open and crews to continue conducting their work safely.
- Crews working on the east end continued cleaning westbound I-70 at mile point 128.7 and built energy-absorbing ponds ahead of the inlet located in this area in an attempt to slow any future flow at this location.
- The contractor for the emergency repair project, Lawrence Construction, set the permanent concrete barrier on east and westbound I-70 at MP 123.5. CDOT maintenance crews will start demobilizing as the contractor takes over more of the clean-up responsibilities in the Canyon.
- PAR Contractor worked with Holy Cross Energy and Xcel on helicopter operations, which involved intermittent road closures on August 26.
- Maintenance crews from Denver and Pueblo mobilized home last week after helping with emergency maintenance efforts.
- Excessive rainfall is not anticipated on Monday and Tuesday this week, but a brief sprinkle or light rain is possible each afternoon. Showers look to spread into western Colorado on Tuesday night, setting the stage for a more-active day Wednesday.
- Remnants of Tropical Storm Nora arrive Wednesday, along with an embedded disturbance to provide lift. There is still lingering uncertainty how all this will play out, and where the focus for heavier precipitation will be. If details align correctly and we see widespread thunderstorms (versus stratiform rain showers), there will be a high risk for threshold rainfall totals or rates on the burn scar.
- Lawrence Construction worked on setting up traffic control barriers on August 26 and also continued with debris removal from the bike path to facilitate the wall repairs at mile point 123.5, Blue Gulch.
- Crews have located the inlet structure of the large drainage box culvert at mile point 123.5 along the north side of westbound I-70. Crews have not located the outlet of the large drainage box culvert adjacent to the eastbound I-70 lanes and Colorado River at mile point 123.5 Work this week will shore up the area in order to perform a more comprehensive investigation of the box culvert.
- CDOT met with the FHWA team to discuss Emergency Repair reimbursements.
- CDOT with Lawrence Construction, the Executive Director and the Assistant Division Administrator for FHWA on Thursday. We discussed the project and visited the work site to go through the repair plans.
Flash Flood Watch I-70 Protocol
- Maintenance crews will be stationed at the two closure points along I-70 at MP 133 (Dotsero) and MP 116 (Glenwood Springs). This allows for a quick closure of the interstate if weather worsens. There will be a single lane closure on eastbound I-70 at MP 116 which, again, allows the opportunity to quickly close the interstate as soon as a Flash Flood Warning is issued.
Flash Flood Warning I-70 Protocol
- In the event that a Flash Flood Warning is issued, maintenance crews at the two closure points will close the interstate. The Colorado State Patrol will sweep the area to ensure there are no motorists or members of the public in the area. Crews will continue to monitor the mudslide area. Motorists should be prepared for an extended closure should there be another mud slide or slide materials blocking the roadway that will need to be cleared before reopening. Safety is CDOT’s and CSP’s number one priority and the agencies will not reopen the interstate until it is safe to do so.
In the Event of an I-70 Closure
- Digital message boards will display the closure points and the recommended detour. The detour will be the same as when the canyon originally closed. CDOT will post messaging on both Facebook and Twitter and will send information to stakeholders if we anticipate an extended closure. Motorists are encouraged to check COtrip.org and the weather forecast before driving through the canyon.
Colorado State Emergency Operations Center River Operations Update
- The week of August 23, the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) conducted state damage assessments of the Colorado River.
- Governor Polis requested an extension from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to apply for a major disaster for an additional 30 days in order to compile data from damage assessments being finalized this week. The new deadline will be October 1, 2021 if approved.
- This week DHSEM is leading a Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment (JPDA) of the Colorado River with representatives from FEMA as well as other federal and several state agencies. The JPDA is the next step in the process to request a major disaster declaration from the president. Xcel continues to work on the Shoshone plant, including repairs to both hydropower units, transmission lines, and removal of rocks from the diversion tunnels.
- DHSEM will solicit bids to begin the work to reconfigure the debris fans in the river that present the most risk to the integrity of I-70.