With rain forecast in Glenwood Canyon, CDOT advising motorists to anticipate potential closure
Motorists should prepare for more potential closures of Interstate 70 due to heavy rainfall that could trigger flash floods, mudslides, rockfall or other hazards, according to a Colorado Department of Transportation news release.
As of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the National Weather Service anticipates up to a 40% chance of precipitation throughout Tuesday and into the night.
The Grizzly Creek and Shoshone Power Plant rest areas and the Glenwood Canyon recreation path are closed due to a flash flood advisory for the Grizzly Creek burn scar, CDOT stated in the release.
“CDOT will be on standby, with the same procedures as during a Flash Flood Watch. If a Flash Flood Warning is issued for the Grizzly Creek burn scar, CDOT will close I-70 in Glenwood Canyon and clear the canyon of traffic,” CDOT said in the release. “If there is an I-70 closure that is anticipated to last longer than an hour, CDOT will ask that motorists use the recommended northern alternate route.”
Significant mudslides occurred Saturday and Sunday along the Grizzly Creek Fire burn scar in Glenwood Canyon. This has also led to periodic closures of I-70 in the area.
“If you are stuck in a closure waiting for a road to be cleared of mud or rocks, do not leave your car unless absolutely necessary,” CDOT stated in the release. “Never hang out in the grassy median located between lanes. If traffic is moving in the opposite direction, the median can be a hazardous area.”
Emergency response vehicles and heavy equipment might also need the median area to move about and access the emergency scene, CDOT said.
“Lengthy closures on the interstate may also be the result of staged releases,” CDOT stated in the release. “As stopped traffic backs up, creating long lines, traffic will be let go in stages, allowing traffic queues ahead to clear, before releasing more traffic.”
CDOT said highway closures can last as little as a few minutes or for as long as several hours.
When drivers set out on a trip, especially through high country roads or the I-70 mountain corridor, it would be wise to have the car supplied with an emergency kit. The kit should contain a minimum of water, snacks, flashlight and a blanket, CDOT said.
“Remember to also carry water for your pets if you’re traveling with animals,” CDOT stated in the release. “You may even consider packing some items to keep your children occupied while waiting in the car. Activity books, colored pencils or a deck of cards can help pass the time.”
To keep up to date on any road closures or forecasts, CDOT urges motorists to “know before you go” by visiting cotrip.org.
PRECAUTIONS TO FOLLOW IF DRIVING IN A FLOOD ZONE
• Never drive through any flooded area; you do not know how deep or how fast the water is running
• Even 8-10 inches of water can float an average-sized car, which can be easily swept off the road
• Driving too fast on wet roads or in flooded areas can cause a vehicle to hydroplane. Never use your cruise control during rainy conditions with standing water on the roadway
• Any amount of flooding or mud can obstruct the roadway and hinder drivers from knowing exactly where to drive. If you cannot see the roadway, be smart and wait for the water to subside
• Water and mud can contain unknown hazards hidden under the surface — rocks or other debris, like plant material and tree branches
CDOT webpage: http://www.codot.gov
CDOT safe driving tips: http://www.codot.gov/travel/driving-safety and CDOT downloadable flyer
CDOT’s official and only road conditions website: http://www.COtrip.org
CDOT social media: Twitter @coloradodot and Facebook facebook.com/coloradodot
CDOT project or travel alerts: bit.ly/COalerts
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