Along Colorado’s I-70 detour route, speeding, traffic jams — and an occasional boost to business

Between late June and late August, I-70 through Glenwood Canyon closed nine times as state officials prepared for flash floods or cleared the roadway after car and truck accidents.

Shannon Najmabadi
The Colorado Sun
Eastbound vehicle traffic during construction on Interstate 70 inside Glenwood Canyon on Nov. 29, 2021, near Glenwood Springs.| Hugh Carey/The Colorado Sun

Closures of Colorado’s main east-west thoroughfare this summer have sent drivers on hourslong detours — bringing added traffic and a welcome boost to some towns and businesses on the alternate routes. 

In Craig, there’s been a bump to restaurants and grocery stores. In Rifle, Interstate 70 closures have led to people milling around town or booking motel rooms for overnight stays. 

“I talked to quite a few people in our restaurants (who) were traveling through,” said Diana Lawrence, a real estate agent who chairs the Colorado River Valley Chamber board of directors. “I didn’t hear any complaints coming out of any of the businesses.”

Other spots on the detour road, however, have largely seen increased traffic, frequent requests for directions or drivers speeding along town roads, trying to make up for lost time. 

“For the most part, people just kind of fly on by,” said Trudy Burri, with the Meeker Chamber of Commerce’s visitor center. 

Read the full story via the Colorado Sun.

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