Wed March 30, 2011

I-70 Closing Next Week for Rockfall Mitigation

Interstate 70 is scheduled to be shut down for at least one day next week so crews can remove some potentially dangerous rocks from above the highway.

The Colorado Department of Transportation needs to remove about 40 boulders from a large slope above the highway between Silverthorne and Empire.  The removal can’t be done during nighttime hours because of the nature of the work that needs to be done, including blasting boulders into smaller pieces.

“Plus you’re dealing with a huge area of rock 300 feet above the highway so we need daylight hours for the operation, to see what we’re doing and make sure we’re doing it safely, but then also, once it’s down to evaluate the area to make sure it’s safe so we can open it up to traffic,” says C-DOT Spokeswoman Stacey Stegman.

Because of the closure, motorists will have to take an alternate route, which will likely be an inconvenience.

“There isn’t a great alternate route for motorists who want to avoid this area.  Both detours are over 100 miles out of the way, so it’s not convenient, but it is doable.  It is another route, you just need to add about an hour or two to your travel time,” says Stegman.

While While I-70 is closed, the primary detour routes between the Front Range and the Western Slope are:

·         I-70 to U.S. 40 (Empire Junction), U.S. 40 west over Berthoud Pass to Kremmling, and State Highway 9 south to I-70 in Silverthorne (73 miles)

·         U.S. 285 southwest to Fairplay, State Highway 9 north over Hoosier Pass to I-70 in Frisco (101 miles)

Lanes in both directions will be closed starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday with crews working until 5 p.m. if work is not completed, the highway may be closed Wednesday as well. 

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