Passenger bus gets stuck in Flat Tops, requires Garfield County rescue
A Greyhound bus trying to circumvent the Glenwood Canyon closure got stuck on a high-mountain road in the Flat Tops on Friday night, a Garfield County Sheriff’s Office official said.
Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon has been closed since July 29 due to multiple mud and debris flows.
Around 6 p.m. Friday, the sheriff’s office received a report that the bus was stuck approximately 22.5 miles up Coffee Pot Springs Road, an unpaved high-mountain road accessible north of Dotsero. There were 21 people on board including at least one elderly female with heart conditions, a sheriff’s office news release states
“(A sheriff’s deputy) immediately set out from Glenwood Springs to reach the site and bring the female down from this high mountain road,” the release states. “The Coffee Pot Springs road is a dirt and gravel road used to access the White River National Forest wilderness area. The road is generally traveled by four-wheel drive and all-terrain vehicles and is not an alternative route around Glenwood Canyon.”
Greyhound released a statement on Saturday, saying, “Greyhound is continuing to investigate the rerouting incident that (led) to the immobile bus. All passengers have been transferred onto a relief bus and we are currently working to obtain equipment to retrieve the original coach. We have no further details at this time.”
Additional sheriff’s deputies were deployed from Glenwood Springs with the assistance of Garfield County Search and Rescue members, along with two transport vans to bring the remaining passengers and driver down off the mountain as soon as possible, the sheriff’s release states.
“By trying to navigate the roadway the Greyhound bus managed to tear a hole through the bottom of its engine’s oil pan, creating an oil spill along this high mountain road,” the release states.
ECOS Environmental & Disaster Restoration, Inc. was called in immediately for a hazardous materials spill clean up to avoid further spread of the oil contaminant.
Shortly before 11 p.m., the passengers and driver were loaded into the vehicles and the ride back down the road and into Eagle County began, the release states.
A threatening rainstorm could have interrupted the rescue procedures and delayed the mission, sheriff’s officials said.
“Fortunately, the storm passed further north,” the release states. “The caravan reached I-70 shortly after midnight.”
Travelers, including drivers of commercial vehicles, are advised not to follow GPS mapping in an attempt to circumvent the I-70 closure through Glenwood Canyon.
“Backcountry roads are unpredictable and can be treacherous or deadly for the unprepared traveler,” the release states.
The preferred and recommended route around Glenwood Canyon when traveling west remains I-70 to Exit 205 (Silverthorne) and traveling north on Colorado Highway 9 towards Kremmling, the release states. Travelers will then continue west on U.S. Highway 40 and south on Colorado Highway 13 to complete the alternate route, returning to I-70 at Rifle (Exit 90).
“When traveling east, simply reverse this path. The detour can add between 1-½ hours to 2 hours to your trip, depending on traffic, but you will be on well-traveled and paved roads with multiple towns and rest areas along the way,” the release states.
For the best and most up to date information regarding Colorado roadways go to cotrip.org.
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