Interstate 70 will be open today through Glenwood Canyon after crews on Wednesday finished work placing fencing materials earlier than expected.
“Ideal flying conditions and employing a Blackhawk helicopter allowed crews to install 12 steel posts and deliver all fencing materials to the hillside,” said Mike Fowler, project engineer. “We are pleased with today’s operations and progress. The helicopter operations were efficient and accurate, allowing us to finish work in one day.”
Wednesday’s closure of Glenwood Canyon was the last this rockfall mitigation project will require, said Kathleen Wanatowicz, the project’s public information manager.
An expected fourth full-day closure anticipated for sometime before September will also not be necessary, said Wanatowicz.
Some rockfall mitigation work will continue, however, so I-70 westbound traffic will be reduced to one lane near mile marker 125 west of Hanging Lake Tunnel, where equipment will continue to be staged. Thirty-minute traffic holds may be necessary in this area as crane work continues on lower-elevation fences.
As always, the canyon closure led some drivers to spots where they shouldn’t have been. When crews tried to do the work earlier in the month but were thwarted by strong downdrafts, trucks clogged the route to Independence Pass at Aspen, even though vehicles longer than 35 feet are not allowed there, and two trucks got stuck on the road to Cottonwood Pass, also not suited to such vehicles.
Wednesday, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office responded to a stuck semi on the Lake County side of Independence Pass.
The fences being erected in Glenwood Canyon are cutting-edge rock catchers, able to stop the large boulders that rained down on I-70 in February, causing a full closure for nearly a week, the longest in the history of the interstate through the canyon.
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