Warm temps, melting snow create sloppy mess in Roaring Fork Valley
Ryan Summerlin February 10, 2014
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Last week’s heavy snows followed by rain and unseasonably warm temperatures over the last two days resulted in one, big sloppy mess in Glenwood Springs and throughout the lower valley area on Monday.
Glenwood Springs streets crews were kept busy trying to keep up with a growing crop of pot holes on city streets, as streams of runoff water dug out chunks of asphalt following several weeks in the deep freeze.
Above Wulfsohn Road in West Glenwood, massive snowslides inched their way down the hillside, sending trees from the old Coal Seam Fire burn area tumbling along with them.
In addition to one large slide just above the city’s Municipal Operations Center and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus barn, assistant city public works director Dave Betley said there were about “five or six” smaller snowslides coming off the north side of Red Mountain.
“The debris basins up there did what they were supposed to do to catch all that snow and mud, so that it doesn’t impact the buildings up here or the development below us [on Midland Avenue],” Betley said.
Meanwhile, pot holes were the bigger concern around town.
“With the freeze at night and thaw during the day, this is the beginning of our pot hole season,” Betley said. “We’re working the best we can to keep up with it.”
It’s still too cold to fill the holes with hot asphalt mix, so crews will be busy filling them with temporary cold mix in the meantime, he said.
“What you’re seeing out there now is an indication of what we’ll be going through for a while,” he said.
Also Monday, Colorado Department of Transportation crews closed Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon for about 40 minutes in order to conduct avalanche control above the highway.
“We fired nine rounds into the mountain, but nothing made it down to the road,” CDOT Region 3 spokeswoman Tracy Trulove said. “That’s an indication that the snowpack is stable for now.”
I-70 through the canyon was closed from about 1:30 p.m. to around 2:10 p.m. Monday while the avalanche work was being done, she said.
Heavy, wet snow at higher elevations also resulted in periodic traffic delays Sunday and Monday on Vail Pass and on either side of the Eisenhower Tunnel, Trulove said.