CDOT closes I-70 rest areas and recpath in Glenwood Canyon, warns of possible roadway closure
The Colorado Department of Transportation has closed rest areas and the recreation path along Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon due to rain in the area, according to CDOT spokesperson Elise Thatcher.
The safety closure applies to the No Name, Grizzly Creek, Hanging Lake and Bair Ranch rest areas. According to Thatcher, the closures are due to the increased risk of debris, mudslides and rockfall on the roadway as rain comes down on the Grizzly Creek Fire burn scar.
“We have a safety protocol for closing the canyon if it looks like debris is going to come down onto the roadway and create a hazard for motorists,” Thatcher said. “The first step is if there is a threshold of rain in the forecast, we’re going to close the rest areas and the recpath the afternoon or the night before. … The reason for that is it’s much easier and safer for CDOT, state patrol and any other assisting agencies to evacuate the canyon if people are in their cars.”
Thatcher said the precautions don’t necessarily mean the department will close the interstate through the canyon but that it is prepared for that step if necessary. She noted if the area goes into a flash flood watch, CDOT would mobilize crews and equipment to be on standby. If a flash flood warning is issued, all traffic would be evacuated immediately and the roadway would be closed.
Thatcher said CDOT is working closely with the National Weather Service to monitor the weather over the burn scar. She also said that while the department would try to avoid closures when possible, they could be more frequent this year due to last year’s wildfire.
“In a way, this could be more common this spring,” Thatcher said. “We’ll see how much debris comes down on the road. We just don’t know because this is an unusual situation in the canyon. So we’ll be monitoring as closely as possible, working with the Forest Service. It’s possible closing rest areas and the bike path could become a regular event depending what the weather is like this spring. So I would encourage locals and motorists to plan for the recpath and the rest areas being closed when it’s raining.”
For updates on current traffic conditions, visit CoTrip.org.
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