A 24-mile stretch of the Interstate 70 will be closed for several weeks following a rock slide, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Large boulders slid and rolled onto the road, because of which the east-west highway will remain inaccessible. The officials said Wednesday that the first slide had caused large amounts of loose rocks to roll down the highway.
The slide, which occurred Monday, struck Interstate 70, about 125 miles east of the Utah border, as reported by KKTV. The first of the slides occurred in Glenwood County on Monday morning. The subsequent one struck hours later. While two semi trucks suffered damage, no injuries were reported as a result.
The second slide caused the closure of the highway in both directions – from Dotsero to Glenwood Springs. The stretch sees in excess of 7,000 vehicles a day.
The Colorado Department of Transportation said that one lane of the highway could open on Thursday; however, after finding several loose rocks, they said they weren’t sure if it was safe enough to open the lane on Thursday. Tracy Trulove, of the transportation department, said, “There are a couple of holes through the deck … boulders made it all the way over to the eastbound lanes, so both directions have some damage. This is a big one. I’d say that the rocks we have on the road; we haven’t even been able to move the ones up here on the west deck to see what kind of damage might have happened to the highway.”
It is not the first time a rock slide has occurred along the Interstate 70. As reported by Centre Daily, a section of the road suffered gaping holes in 2010 as a result of a rock slide that forced the closure of the canyon for four days. Consequently, with food trucks not being able to reach restaurants there was a shortage of food supply. In 2004, as many as three dozen boulders crashed into the highway. In 1995, three people were killed as a result of a slide.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, Glenwood canyon is counted among 750 other areas monitored by the department that are prone to slides.