Glenwood Canyon reopens after semi crash prompts lengthy eastbound closure Friday into early Saturday morning |

Glenwood Canyon reopens after semi crash prompts lengthy eastbound closure Friday into early Saturday morning

A screenshot taken from a CDOT traffic camera showing the accident near MM 124 on Interstate 70.

Interstate 70 eastbound through Glenwood Canyon reopened early Saturday morning after a semi-tractor trailer jumped the westbound guardrail and crashed onto the lower eastbound lanes, forcing a several hours-long closure into Friday night.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the eastbound lanes opened just before 2 a.m. Saturday.

The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office on Friday afternoon originally estimated that the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon would be closed for 12 hours, with no through traffic being allowed beyond Rifle.

Local access was open eastbound to Glenwood Springs, but traffic was being screened at Canyon Creek (MM 109), and eastbound through traffic was diverted onto Colorado Highway 13 at Rifle.

The closure was due to a wreck that occurred a little after noon Friday near the Hanging Lake Tunnels.

A 2016 International truck and trailer heading westbound on I-70 reportedly jumped the median onto the eastbound lanes about 9 miles east of Glenwood Springs, just west of the tunnels, Garfield County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Walt Stowe said.

Stowe said after the semi jumped the median, it flipped upside down and caught fire. Debris was scattered across both the eastbound and westbound lanes, and two vehicles in the eastbound lanes were struck by some of the flying debris, according to Colorado State Patrol reports.

The westbound lane is several feet higher than the eastbound lane along that stretch of I-70.

Colorado State Patrol spokesman Trooper Josh Lewis said Sunday afternoon that the driver of the semi, John Richards, 54, of Florida, was taken by ground ambulance to a hospital in Vail with serious injuries.

The truck trailer was carrying dry goods, Lewis said. An exact cause of the crash is still under investigation, and excessive speed is being looked at as a possible factor, he said.

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or Post Independent Senior Reporter and Managing Editor John Stroud [970-384-9160;] also contributed to this report.

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