GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Colorado Department of Transportation officials are warning bicyclists to stay off closed sections of the Glenwood Canyon bike path due to damage to some of the bridge structures from spring runoff flooding.
They fear closures of some parts of the trail that could last weeks.
CDOT spokesperson Tracy Trulove said crews have been inspecting the trail between the Grizzly Creek Rest Area and Hanging Lake this week and discovered that some of the bridges have become detached from the retaining wall below Interstate 70.
That section of path, along with the stretch from No Name to Grizzly, remains closed due to the high water in the Colorado River.
However, CDOT crews have seen people riding their bikes past the closure signs along some sections where the waters have receded.
“People are being warned to stay off those closed sections until we can assess the damage and clean up the debris from some of the sections that we can open,” Trulove said.
CDOT plans to have the No Name-to-Grizzly Creek section reopened by Friday, as long as the river continues to recede in the interim.
However, Trulove said it will take some time to assess damage upriver from Grizzly Creek near the Shoshone area and to make any necessary repairs before that stretch can be reopened.
She advised that could take several weeks or months, depending on the extent of damage, possibly similar to the long-term closures that resulted after the last high runoff year in 2011.
“At this time, the river is still high and the bank is really close to the bike path in places,” Trulove said. “One section near Shoshone is still under water.”
More importantly, any damaged bridge structures could also be unsafe for people to be on, she said.
The section between No Name and Grizzly is clear of water, she said, but there is still a lot of debris to clean up before the Friday reopening.
High water on the Shoshone section of the Glenwood Canyon bike path during the 2011 runoff resulted in significant damage and closure of that section until fall of that year while about $1.5 million worth of repairs were made.
Meanwhile, flows in the Colorado River and its tributaries have fallen significantly since the rivers reached peak runoff flows last week.
The Colorado at Dotsero, above Glenwood Canyon, was running at 11,300 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of midafternoon Tuesday, down from nearly 16,000 cfs at this time last week.
The Colorado below the confluence with the Roaring Fork River in Glenwood Springs was running at 15,700 cfs at its peak Tuesday, down from about 22,000 cfs a week ago, according to the U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources division online stream flow report for Colorado rivers and streams.