Crews begin installing wire mesh in Glenwood Canyon |

Crews begin installing wire mesh in Glenwood Canyon

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Repair crews began initial installation of the rock fall mitigation wire mesh along Interstate 70 in the Glenwood Canyon this week.

According to Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nancy Shanks, crews were installing eight-foot steel rock anchor bolts, drilled into rock along the hillside. A cable will be strung along the bolts to hang the wire mesh from. Shanks said that the wire mesh is expected to be up within the next two weeks.

Contractor Flatiron Construction Corporation will install 14,000 square feet of wire mesh, or rock fall netting, along the canyon wall near the site of the March 8 rock fall.

“The wire mesh is designed to keep smaller rocks that may release from the talus slope above from reaching the highway,” said CDOT Geologist Ty Ortiz. “The goal is to reduce the chances of these smaller rock incidents; the mesh is not intended to mitigate an event like the one that occurred on March 8.”

The cost of the wire mesh installation is estimated at $300,000, said Shanks.

Shanks said that CDOT had to receive approval from the White River Forest Service before the mitigation could work. That approval was granted earlier in the week, and crews began installing the bolts.

A rock fall on March 8 brought down around 20 boulders, one as large as a tractor-trailer and weighing an estimated 66 tons, that punched holes into the road surface.

On March 25, a three-foot diameter boulder rolled down the hillside and smashed the rear passenger side of a Grand Junction man’s car as he passed through the Canyon from Denver. That incident sent CDOT geologists back to the site to determine what action needed to be done.

The repair work on I-70 began on March 22 and is scheduled for completion by May 22. The work involves bridge deck and bridge wall repairs, including 150 feet of new steel bridge rail, 120 feet of guardrail repairs, 400 feet of median concrete barrier replacement and removal and replacement of nearly 700 square feet of concrete retaining wall.

Specialized work to straighten a steel bridge girder that was damaged in the March 8 fall will also be included, along with some lighting, electrical repairs and repairs to the bike path below the roadway.

Approximately 500 tons of road base material and 400 tons of asphalt will be used to repair the road surface.

I-70 remains restricted to one traffic lane in each direction through the work zone.

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