GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — Mudslides from the Grizzly Creek burn scar have covered both directions of Interstate 70 in multiple locations through Glenwood Canyon Saturday. The interstate was closed for a flash flood warning earlier in the day and will remain closed for an extended period of time, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.
The interstate is closed from Glenwood Springs to Dotsero. There is no estimated time on when it will reopen. Removal of the mud and debris will require extensive work throughout the evening and night, CDOT said.
The canyon was being cleared of traffic due to a flash flood warning when debris flows in four locations began coming down the sides of the canyon around 3:20 p.m. Some slide areas are nine ft. deep and cover hundreds of feet of roadway.
The highway was shut down twice last weekend after two separate mudslides from the Grizzly Creek burn scar washed over the road. It was closed a third time Tuesday for a flash flood warning, but a mudslide did not occur during Tuesday’s closure.
These closures may last a few minutes or several hours, depending on the incident. If the closure lasts longer than an hour, traffic will be diverted to the northern alternate route.
The northern alternate route includes at least a two-hour-long detour. Westbound traffic can exit at Silverthorne and travel north on Colorado 9 to U.S. 40, then west to Craig. From Craig, take Colorado 13 south to Rifle and back on I-70. Eastbound traffic will need to exit at Rifle and take the same route in the other direction.
Drivers planning to use I-70 or other high-country roads should bring supplies with them in case they need to spend extended time in the car, CDOT said. At the minimum, this can include water, snacks, flashlight, and a blanket.
The source of the mudslides is the Grizzly Creek Fire burn scar. The human-caused fire started August 10, 2020 in Glenwood Canyon and burned more than 32,000 acres in the White River National Forest.