Accidents snarl canyon | PostIndependent.com
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Accidents snarl canyon

by donna gray

A pair of accidents caused traffic delays in Glenwood Canyon and backed up traffic to west Glenwood Wednesday. A semitrailer jackknifed on Interstate 70 near the Shoshone Power Plant at 11:30 a.m. The eastbound lanes of the highway were closed at the Glenwood Springs exit where traffic was diverted.Cars and trucks quickly backed up to the west Glenwood exit as traffic waited to exit at Glenwood Springs.The westbound lanes were not affected. One of the eastbound lanes through the canyon was opened at 3:50 p.m., said Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Stacey Stegman.CDOT program engineer Joe Elsen was in the canyon Wednesday morning and witnessed the accident. “We saw the truck jack-knife,” he said. Elsen said the truck’s cab landed on the guardrail. And an SUV hit the trailer.”It just seemed it was weather-related,” he said.Elsen saw the vehicle’s air bags deploy but did not know if there were any injuries. Colorado State Patrol was still on scene at the accident at press time, so no official report was available.A second, multi-car accident also added to traffic congestion in the canyon. The accident occurred two miles west of Eagle about 1:30 p.m. and caused the closure of the westbound lanes from there through the canyon. One of those lanes reopened at 3 p.m., Stegman said.The lane closures during the day resulted in a bottleneck of cars in west Glenwood until late afternoon. Commuters faced delays in downtown Glenwood on the bridge as well.Also adding to the congestion is continuing construction just west of the Hanging Lake Tunnels where a massive rockslide damaged the westbound lanes of the highway last month.Traffic is reduced to two lanes at that point.”Tuesday we switched traffic to the eastbound bore of the tunnel,” Elsen said.Traffic switches over on the east side of the tunnels and continues on the eastbound lanes through the rockslide area. That reduction means the highway has less carrying capacity through the canyon, which adds further congestion when an accident shuts down other lanes.Traffic was still backed up about five miles in both directions at 5:30 p.m., Stegman said.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com


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