More mitigation work to be done in Glenwood Canyon |

More mitigation work to be done in Glenwood Canyon

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The Colorado Department of Transportation plans to complete further mitigation work in the fall area of a major rock fall, just west of the Hanging Lake Tunnel, that closed Interstate 70 in early March.

According to CDOT spokeswoman Nancy Shanks, CDOT plans to install some cable netting along the fall site to contain smaller rocks and boulders from falling onto the roadway below.

This decision was reached after a two- to three-foot boulder fell and crashed into a car last Thursday, in the same location as the large rock fall which occurred in early March.

Grand Junction resident Kurt Kuxhausen was traveling westbound through the construction zone, in Glenwood Canyon along I-70, when the boulder crashed into the rear passenger side of his car.

Shanks said last week that this recent incident was not believed to be related to the previous rock fall and was likely due to typical freeze and thaw conditions. Geologists checked out the area again on Friday to determine if the threat for more rock slides was present. Shanks said that the safety of travelers and work crews in the area was the reason for the decision to hang the netting.

“It’s because it’s that time of year where rock falls are likely to occur,” she said. “They don’t want to see any more of these smaller rocks coming down.”

Road crews are currently working to repair the damaged section of I-70 after more than 20 boulders, one as large as a tractor-trailer and weighing an estimated 66 tons, punched holes into the surface on March 8, at a cost of $860,000. The work is being completed by Flatiron Construction Corp. of Longmont.

Luckily, no one was injured in either of the incidents.

CDOT did not release information Tuesday as to when the wire mesh would be installed, how long it would take crews to install, if traffic would be affected, or how much the project would cost. Those specifics have yet to be determined.

However, Shanks said that CDOT has ordered about 20,000 square feet of half-inch cable netting that will be installed on the canyon surface. Fencing is already in place near the road surface to catch any rocks that roll down the hillside. The mesh netting will be placed higher on the mountain to prevent other rocks from falling.

An exact time when crews would begin hanging the netting had not been determined as of Tuesday, but Shanks said that installation would begin as soon as the netting is received and the work is approved by the U.S. Forest Service.

CDOT had to issue a contract modification to add the extra costs to the existing contract, and Shanks reported that Rock Solid Solutions of Glenwood Springs is the subcontractor who will be installing the netting.

The Colorado Department of Transportation, along with contractor Flatiron Construction Corp., will switch traffic lanes on Interstate 70 in the Glenwood Canyon work zone, starting at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

According to a CDOT press release, both directions of traffic will be in the eastbound lanes to enable the contractor to complete repairs on the concrete retaining wall and the westbound bridge deck. Speed limits for eastbound traffic will remain at the lowered 40 mph, while the speed for westbound traffic will be lowered to 25 mph. Due to the lane switches in this short section – which is approximately 1,000 feet – the width restriction remains at 14 feet.

Work continues during the day, Monday through Saturday, through the construction zone. Single lane traffic is permitted in each direction, but motorists may encounter occasional traffic stops, when safety or equipment mobilization is warranted.

While the Glenwood Canyon bike path should open sometime in April, the section between the Shoshone power plant and Hanging Lake rest area will remain closed for safety until the project is completed in May.

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