Detours around Interstate 70 in western Colorado's Glenwood Canyon will be the norm for the foreseeable future after damage left behind from mudslides this past weekend.

I-70 through Glenwood Canyon is described as "unlike anything they had seen before," Colorado Department of Transportation officials said in a news release.

Drone footage from the Colorado Department of Transportation shows damage from mudslides on I-70 from the Glenwood Springs mudslides last week. (Video provided by Colorado Department of Transportation)

The mudslides occurred amid heavy rains Saturday that left debris over traffic lanes and into the adjacent Colorado River, leading to flooding and piles of rocks, mud, logs and more on the roadway.

Gov. Jared Polis on Monday said he would ask the federal government to declare Glenwood Canyon a disaster area after the mudslides.

The canyon has been closed since around 9 p.m. Thursday. The interstate was open only sporadically before that, with periodic closures due to torrential rains and mudslides.

No date has been set for reopening the highway. Polis said during a Monday press conference that it could be days or weeks. 

Here are alternate routes for motorists:

Northern route, westbound: Interstate 70 to Colorado 9 to U.S. 40 and to Colorado 13. Motorists coming from the Denver metro area should exit I-70 at Exit 205 (Silverthorne) and travel north on Colorado 9 toward Kremmling, then continue west on U.S. 40 and south on Colorado 13 where they return to westbound I-70 at Rifle (Exit 90).

Northern route, eastbound: Travelers coming from the Grand Junction area detour using the route in reverse, starting at the Rifle exit.

Commercial traffic: Colorado officials have been advising truckers to bypass Colorado and take Interstate 80 through Wyoming.

Southern route, option 1: U.S. 50 between Montrose and Gunnison, another detour route, had been closed weekdays for a new road project and open only on weekends, but Transportation Executive Director Shoshanna Lew said the project has been suspended in recognition of the need for additional arteries to get around the closure.

Southern route, option 2: Those only traveling for recreational purposes can take Colorado 82 and cross Independence Pass, but the preferred route for recreational and commercial traffic in Colorado has been to use the north detours.

Stan Hilkey, executive director of the Department of Public Safety, said three agencies are working with transportation officials on the problem: the state patrol, the division of fire prevention and the division of homeland security.

Click or tap here to visit CDOT for updated road closures and conditions.

Fire-triggered mudslides could plague Glenwood Canyon for years to come
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