I-70 wrecks near Glenwood Springs cause delays | PostIndependent.com

I-70 wrecks near Glenwood Springs cause delays

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” A seven-vehicle accident four miles east of Glenwood Springs closed the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon Monday morning.

The eastbound lanes were closed at the main Glenwood Springs exit for about two hours. The accident occurred at 5:45 a.m. when a semi-trailer lost control on the icy highway near the Grizzly Creek Rest Area, hit the left guard rail, spun several times around a blind corner and blocked the right lane.

The driver, Michael Shaw, 38, of Delta, was cited with careless driving, the Colorado State Patrol said in a news release.

A black 2004 Toyota Tundra came around the corner and struck the semi. A Chevrolet Tahoe then hit the Tundra, but the unknown driver immediately left the scene of the accident. Next, a 1999 Jeep arrived near the crashed cars and was struck by a 1996 Buick Century. Finally, another semi-trailer struck the first one, and a 2007 Ford sedan crashed into one of the vehicles, the CSP said.

No one was injured, but two of the vehicles had to be towed away.

Also Monday morning, several vehicles slid off or crashed on I-70 in South Canyon, and three vehicles crashed or drove off the road on Highway 82, said CSP Capt. Rich Duran. One person was injured in one of the South Canyon accidents, but the person’s condition wasn’t immediately known.

Duran said the accident was caused by driving too fast for the winter conditions. The CSP encourages people to slow down and drive carefully when hazardous conditions exist.

Multiple accidents and a closure of the winding and narrow Four Mile Road devastated Sunday’s business at Sunlight Mountain Resort.

“Business yesterday was cut in half. We skied 1,100 skiers on Saturday and 505 on Sunday,” said Sunlight’s general manager Tom Jankovsky.

Four Mile was blocked from around 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Jankovsky said. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office asked Sunlight officials to keep everyone on the mountain until the road re-opened.

The delay and closure was due to up to six vehicles that slid off the road or got stuck. County plow trucks had to chain up to plow the area, said Garfield County community relations deputy Tanny McGinnis. No one was injured.

After the largest winter snowfall last winter since the 1980s, this winter is also depositing more than a typical amount of snow. It’s dropping even more in some areas so far compared to last winter.

Snowpack in the Roaring Fork River Basin was 139 percent of a 30-year average Monday morning. A monitoring site on Independence Pass recorded a mighty 145 percent snowpack. In the Upper Colorado River Basin snowpack was 126 percent of average, according to a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) website. Monday morning’s snowpack in the Upper Colorado River Basin was 8 percent greater than its snowpack the same day last winter.

“Just the last weekend or so has really kicked the percentages up quite a bit,” said Mike Gillespie, NRCS snow survey supervisor. He said the recent burst of storms turned around the effects of a dry and warmer week.

A Jan. 1 NRCS water supply outlook said that after a dry fall, “Colorado is on track for another good water year,” and “summer water supply forecasts call for above average volumes nearly statewide.”

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) said Monday avalanche danger was high in the mountains around Aspen and north of Gunnison.

“With storm totals over 2 feet in the last few days in some areas of the (Aspen) zone, triggered and natural avalanches now have the potential to become large and destructive,” the CAIC said Monday on its website.

Around 25 people have died of avalanches in the U.S. every year over the last 10 winters, the CAIC says.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121


Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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