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UPDATE: I-70 reopens in Glenwood Canyon after extended closure Monday

UPDATE, 11:44 p.m. Monday — I-70 through Glenwood Canyon was fully reopened late Monday night, following a day-long closure due to a semi tractor-trailer crash at about 11:15 a.m. Westbound lanes were reopened at 10:20 p.m. and the eastbound lanes reopened at 11:44 p.m., according to Garfield County Communications alerts.

Original story from 11:30 a.m. Monday:

Yet another incident involving a semi tractor-trailer losing it on the snow-slick roads in Glenwood Canyon has both the westbound and eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 closed east of Glenwood Springs on Monday.

The crash occurred at about 11:15 a.m. on westbound I-70 just west of the Hanging Lake Tunnels involving a single tractor-trailer, but triggering a series of minor accidents as traffic tried to slow to avoid the wrecked truck, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) said in a Monday afternoon news release.

“The extended closure is expected to last at least through tonight,” the release states.

No injuries were reported in the crash.

It’s the third crash in the canyon involving a semi in four days that has resulted in a highway closure, following similar incidents on Friday and Saturday — the latest in a continuing string of Canyon closures resulting from crashes.

The Monday closure point on the west side of Glenwood Canyon is the West Glenwood Springs interchange, Exit 114, and on the east side is at mile marker 133 (Dotsero), according to Colorado Department of Transportation’s cotrip.org road conditions reports. Local traffic is being allowed to pass between Rifle and No Name.

According to witness and responder reports, the westbound truck was hanging over the barrier into the eastbound lanes and the trailer was blocking westbound traffic.

The crash occurred in the elevated westbound lanes at mile point 124.6, just west of the Hanging Lake Tunnels, and will require extensive removal operations, CDOT said in its release.

“The trailer is currently blocking westbound traffic, and the tractor traveled over the guardrail down onto eastbound lanes,” the release states. “Secondary crashes also took place nearby as vehicles tried to avoid the crashed CMV (commercial vehicle).

“Crews are working as quickly and safely as possible to clear the CMV, secondary crashes and motorists waiting in the queue behind the crash.”

Initial reports from responding emergency personnel indicate there was a minor fuel spill and that a hazmat response would be necessary.

Alternate routes to the north via state Highways 13, 131 and 9 and U.S. 40, or to the south via U.S. Routes 285 and 50 and various other state and U.S. highways are available, but CDOT suggests checking weather and travel conditions before using any alternate routes.

The alternate routes will add several hours of travel time, CDOT advises. All road condition updates will continue to post to COtrip.org.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

UPDATE: I-70 reopens through Glenwood Canyon

UPDATE 12:52 P.M. FRIDAY, JAN. 27: Interestate 70 is now open through Glenwood Canyon.

Original story:

Interstate 70 is closed eastbound at the Glenwood Springs exit through Glenwood Canyon for a wreck, a Garfield County alert states.

There is currently no estimate for when the road might reopen.

UPDATE: Main Glenwood I-70 eastbound on-ramp reopened after semi wreck cleared

UPDATE, 5:55 p.m. Tuesday — The Interstate 70 eastbound on-ramp at Exit 116 in Glenwood Springs has been reopened.

Original story

There was an extended closure of the Interstate 70 Exit 116 eastbound on-ramp from Glenwood Springs Tuesday due to a semi accident, according to a city of Glenwood Springs news alert.

The alert was issued just before noon on Tuesday. Motorists needing to access eastbound I-70 were directed to use the West Glenwood on-ramp at Exit 114.

UPDATE: Colorado Highway 82 westbound reopens outside Carbondale

UPDATE 6:45 P.M. SATURDAY, JAN. 21: Colorado Highway 82 westbound has reopened.

Original story:

Colorado Highway 82 is closed following a wreck at mile marker 8 near Carbondale, a Garfield County alert states.

There is currently no estimate for when it will reopen.

Crews clean up hazmat spill after multi-vehicle semi crash in Glenwood Canyon on Tuesday

A hazmat spill caused when four commercial vehicles collided in Glenwood Canyon Tuesday morning, including a semi-truck tanker hauling gasoline, and closing westbound Interstate 70 for several hours, was cleared up Tuesday.

The incident occurred after several inches of snow fell overnight Monday and into Tuesday morning. It caused the westbound lane in Glenwood Canyon to close between 7:40 a.m.-6:33 p.m. at the east end of the canyon.

Colorado State Patrol Public Information Officer Gary Cutler reported no injuries. The cause of the collision was yet to be determined as of press time.

The tanker hauling the hazardous material spilled 3,000 gallons of gasoline onto the interstate. The closure was extended all day so crews could drain 7,000 gallons of gasoline remaining in the tank.

Colorado Department of Transportation spokesperson Elise Thatcher told the Post Independent on Tuesday that potential hazmat impacts to the surrounding landscape, including the Colorado River, are still being assessed.

“CDOT will be assisting with hazmat clean up where necessary,” she said.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Rachael Gonzales said the CPW has not seen any fish kill so far after the spill.

“We also didn’t see any sheen of the gasoline in (the Colorado River), so if any did go in there, we don’t know how much,” she said. “But we will keep an eye out if people start to call.”

UPDATE: Westbound Interstate 70 near Dotsero opens after hazmat spill closed it all day

UPDATE 6:32 p.m. Tuesday: A hazmat spill caused by four commercial vehicles, including a semi-truck tanker hauling gasoline, colliding into one another on Interstate 70 near Dotsero early Tuesday morning is being cleared up.

The westbound lane, which has been closed in Glenwood Canyon since 7:40 a.m., is now open.

Colorado State Patrol Public Information Officer Gary Cutler reported no injuries. The cause of the collision, however, has yet to be determined.

Commercial vehicle crash on Westbound Interstate 70 near Dotsero on Jan. 17
Photo courtesy of Colorado Department of Transporation

The tanker hauling the hazardous material spilled 3,000 gallons of gasoline onto the interstate. The closure was extended all day so crews could drain and transfer 7,000 gallons of gasoline remaining in the tank.

Colorado Department of Transportation spokesperson Elise Thatcher told the Post Independent around 5:25 p.m. that potential hazmat impacts to the surrounding landscape, including the Colorado River, are still being assessed.

“CDOT will be assisting with hazmat clean up where necessary,” she said.

Hazmat crews working as quickly as possible to clean up a spill from a commercial vehicle crash on Westbound Interstate 70 near Dotsero
Photo courtesy of Colorado department of Transportation

Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Rachael Gonzales told the Post Independent at 5:40 p.m. that the CPW has not seen any fish kill so far after the spill.

“We also didn’t see any sheen of the gasoline in (the Colorado River), so if any did go in there, we don’t know how much,” she said. “But we will keep an eye out if people start to call.”

For additional updates on the closure go to https://www.cotrip.org and look under alerts.

UPDATE: Eastbound Highway 82 reopened at Carbondale after crash

UPDATE, 3:40 p.m.: The eastbound lanes of Colorado Highway 82 have been reopened at the Carbondale/Higway 133 intersection as of 3:40 p.m. Saturday following an accident, according to an updated Garfield County emergency alert.

PHOTOS: Wild winter weather hits Glenwood Springs

If you hadn’t noticed already, snow is everywhere this week. Up to three inches of new snow was forecast in the Glenwood Springs area on Tuesday. This meant storefront owners broke out shovels, motorists scraped their windshields and waterfowl foraged for food — all in a real-life snow globe. More snow is in the forecast for Friday.

Mario Munoz shovels snow in front of the First United Methodist Church in Glenwood Springs on Tuesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent
A man jumps into the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool during a blizzard on Tuesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent
Two people walk eastbound on Seventh Street in Glenwood Springs on Tuesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent
Snow gathers on the beak of a goose hanging out near Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs on Tuesday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent
A lone duck cruises the Roaring Fork River in Glenwood Springs with a gaggle of geese on Tuesday morning.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent
Snow falls over the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs on Tuesday morning.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Vail Pass work on I-70 taking a winter break

Crews have made significant progress on the Interstate 70 West Vail Pass Auxiliary Lanes project, which has shut down for the winter.

During the shutdown, I-70 has returned to its standard configuration to avoid interfering with winter tourism travel and snow-removal operations. Motorists can anticipate typical lane and shoulder widths unless there are emergency incidents. Work will resume in the spring. As the project enters its second winter shutdown, here’s a look at the work accomplished in 2022 and what’s to come next year:

Relocation of the recreation path: A nearly 2-mile section of the Vail Pass recreation path was rebuilt between mile points 185 and 187 to provide a more enjoyable recreation experience and to make room for widening eastbound I-70 to include a new auxiliary lane. The relocation will open in the spring and take users away from the interstate.

Foundation work for a new westbound bridge: Foundation work for the new westbound I-70 bridge over Polk Creek at Mile Point 185.2 began this year. Significant construction of the new structure will start in 2023. Because the new bridge is being built alongside the current bridge, crews were able to continue work into December, and the impact on traffic next season should be minimal. 

Both I-70 bridges in this area will ultimately be rebuilt, but starting with the westbound bridge will allow the new eastbound bridge to also shift to the north. This will reduce the length of the eastbound bridge by more than half, saving time and money. Moving the eastbound bridge to the north will also move it further from Black Gore Creek, reducing its impact on the creek habitat.

Earthwork along westbound I-70: Crews in 2022 began grading work along the westbound lanes about three-quarters of the way up Vail Pass near Mile Point 188. This work was done in preparation for reconstructing the curve in this area to improve the roadway geometry and reduce crashes. This work will continue next spring.

Truck-ramp reconstruction: A large part of the I-70 West Vail Pass Auxiliary Lanes project is dedicated to safety improvements. As part of these improvements, crews reconstructed the emergency truck ramp at Mile Point 182 to remove a sharp right curve that was difficult for truck drivers to safely navigate. The new ramp, which has already been used in emergencies, is straight to help prevent rollovers and hazardous spills. 

Highway closure system gate: Work on information technology service improvements began with utility work for a westbound highway-closure system and future variable speed limit and message signs at the I-70 Mile Point 190 interchange. 

——

Work Resuming in 2023: Project crews will return in spring 2023 with the initial focus on completing the westbound I-70 bridge and recreation path segment at Mile Point 185.2. The new bridge is designed to have a 100-year lifespan, improved curve geometry to accommodate modern highway speeds, and three lanes and standard-width shoulders to provide more room for emergency response vehicles if the traffic lanes are blocked. 

Construction in this area also includes significant wall work and the remaining portion of the recreation path beneath the new highway bridge. Work on these improvements is scheduled to begin in 2023 and will be complete by the end of 2025, with construction pauses each winter.

Eastbound auxiliary lane construction: Construction of the eastbound I-70 auxiliary lane between Mile Points 185 and 190 is scheduled to begin in 2023. When complete, slower-moving vehicles will have a dedicated space to climb the steep grades over Vail Pass.

Wildlife crossings: Work is scheduled to begin in 2023 on the six wildlife underpasses — two for large animals and four for small to medium-sized animals. These crossings will go under I-70 between approximately Mile Points 187 and 190. Fencing is also being added along the highway between Mile Points 185 and 190 to prevent wildlife-vehicle collisions.

Vail Pass Rest Area: Parking is limited at the Vail Pass Rest Area due to the reconstruction of the rest area building and work to improve access roads and parking facilities. Construction on the new rest area facility began in May 2022 and is anticipated to be completed in October 2023.

Project information: For additional information about this project, call the project information line at 970-688-8233 or email the project team at: cdot_wvailpassauxlanes@state.co.us.

So much for a white Christmas, but there still might be a white New Year’s Eve

A light rainfall started the snowstorm Tuesday night, but wet and heavy snow is in the forecast for the rest of the week. 

“It’s just gonna be really an active period over the next week,” Dennis Phillips, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Grand Junction said. 

Multiple snow storms are heading toward Garfield County and the central mountains in the next week with a lot of moisture, bringing heavy, wet snow to the region, he said. 

“I think all the skiers and snowboarders will be pretty happy by the time this is all over,” Phillips said. “This is just heavier, dense snow than maybe some of the snow that falls when it’s quite a bit colder.”

The storm that started Tuesday is predicted to continue until Thursday morning. Then there will be a little break, Phillips said. Another quick storm on Friday, and then another big one coming during the weekend or early next week, he said.

So there is a possibility people might be watching snow fall instead of fireworks for New Years Eve.

“There will be quite a bit of snow falling in all the terrain surrounding you guys,” Phillips said. “Up in the terrain and some of the Flat Tops there could be at least probably 12 to 18 inches. In the valleys, anywhere from a couple inches up to maybe four or five inches in the lower elevations there.”

Post Independent reporter Cassandra Ballard can be reached at cballard@postindependent.com or 970-384-9131.