Drivers that regularly travel on I-70 groaned again Saturday afternoon after several mudslides flowed onto the roadway and closed it down.
The closure came just five days after the highway reopened to traffic on Monday, after last weekend’s round of mudslides from the Grizzly Creek burn scar closed the roadway for several days.
This week, Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Lisa Schwantes said there is no estimate on when the interstate will open back up, as several mudslides — some as deep as nine feet in certain places — covered hundreds of feet of east and westbound roadway Saturday afternoon.
To clear the highway for travel, Schwantes said crews would need to work through the night, but did not say the highway would be open tomorrow.
Because there wasn’t much space available to cleanup crews where the mudslides covered the highway, Schwantes said the roadway-clearing equipment crews were able to use was limited to two front-loaders and around ten trucks to haul away debris.
Because it wasn’t clear when the highway would be reopened, the state transportation department recommends drivers traveling in that area detour north through Steamboat Springs.
The mudslides happened after a flash flood warning was issued at 3 p.m. in Eagle and Garfield counties, prompting a preemptive closure of I-70 between Glenwood Springs and Dotsero.
But while state transportation department personnel were moving their vehicles out of Glenwood Canyon, a mudslide barreled down the mountain and covered the highway. Shortly after, four more mudslides had flowed over the roadway.
At around 7:40 p.m., Schwantes said that because the risk for flash flooding in the area had abated, crews had been able to make progress on clearing the mudslides.
“We are not expecting any additional mudslides to occur, the National Weather Service lifted their warning and moved it to a flash flood watch, so that allows our crews to get in there to clear debris, because we have to wait for those warnings to lift,” Schwantes said.