Friday mudslide sends some motorists to stuckville over Four Mile pass
When Edward Cherry of Cherry Automotive in New Castle got a call seeking assistance for a vehicle stuck on a backcountry road after the owner tried to get around Friday’s mudslide on Interstate 70, he put out the call to any others who may be in the same predicament.
When westbound I-70 was closed in South Canyon for 12 hours, several motorists apparently were misdirected up Four Mile Road south of Glenwood Springs, past Sunlight to Forest Road 800 and over to Divide Creek south of Silt.
“We only ended up recovering the vehicle of the man who contacted us,” Cherry said. “There were two more vehicles in the area, but the owners were not there. We had heard about a multitude of vehicles that were stuck and wanted to lend a hand, but most had either made it out or been recovered by the time we reached the top of the loop.”
Cherry said he’s still willing to help recover the other vehicles if the owners need it.
“We just want to help the community, after being stuck on the wrong side of the mudslide without our off-road vehicle and having to take a very long way home,” he said of the drive over McClure Pass to the south and back around to the other side of the slide.
“We knew we had to help those that had been misdirected by their GPS or tried the trail without realizing what it entails,” Cherry said.
State highway crews were finally able to open the interstate west of Glenwood Springs just after 2 a.m. Saturday, after two significant mudslides closed the road near South Canyon.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the mudslides occurred around 1:30 or 2 p.m. Friday about five miles west of Glenwood Springs in South Canyon as a result of heavy rains north of I-70.
As of Saturday night, traffic was down to a single lane as the westbound right lane remained closed so that crews could continue clearing additional mud and debris.
“Cleanup is expected to continue … perhaps through the weekend,” according to a CDOT news release issued Saturday morning. “Travelers are urged to slow down for the reduced speed of 45 mph and watch for crews, as well as heavy equipment.”
CDOT maintenance personnel reported that one mudslide covered approximately 200 feet of highway, while the second slide covered more than 1,000 feet of roadway.
“Some areas of the slide measured 3 feet deep,” according to the release. “The center lane concrete barrier helped contain the slides to the westbound lanes.”
A total of 25 CDOT personnel were on the scene into Friday night and early Saturday morning for traffic control and clean-up operations. Equipment included two loaders, two plows, a highway broom and four pumps that were used to clear the wet, heavy mud from the interstate.
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The family of Rosie Ferrin has worked to clean up and make safe again the old schoolhouse in downtown New Castle. Ferrin died this summer and had owned the building that included classrooms turned into apartments for years.