Sinkhole closes interstate |

Sinkhole closes interstate

COPPER MOUNTAIN – Interstate 70 will be closed in both directions for at least a couple of days after a sinkhole developed in the highway Sunday afternoon.

CDOT crews closed all lanes of the highway between mile markers 180 and 190. The sinkhole was at mile marker 181.5, on the west side of Vail Pass. The rest area at the top of Vail Pass is at mile marker 195. Summit County Sheriff’s officers diverted westbound vehicles over Highway 91 to Leadville and Battle Mountain and turned back eastbound traffic from Vail.

Sinkholes are holes in the ground where water has eroded away the underlying rock layers. The land then gives way, usually violently, and the hole fills with water.

Although people associate the phenomenon more often with the South, sinkholes have been reported in Colorado, as well. At least two sinkholes were reported in Summit County during the 1995 floods. In Florida, sinkholes form when the underlying limestone erodes away. In Colorado – most often downstream from Glenwood Springs – salt deep within the ground dissolves and is transported down the Colorado River.

They also can form when cracks in asphalt allow water to seep into the road base and erode the underlying rock or if water moving underneath the ground gets to be so great it eats away at the wet soil and causes it to sink.

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