Here’s Why I-70 Through Colorado’s Glenwood Canyon Was Closed For 12 Hours
Scores of I-70 travelers were stranded on the interstate Monday while countless others were forced to take the long detour around Glenwood Canyon because of an accident in the canyon.
Three Glenwood Canyon Closures In Four Days
A semi-truck slid out of control and overturned in Glenwood Canyon late Monday morning, forcing the closure of Interstate 70 between Dotsero and Glenwood Springs. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the accident happened just west of the Hanging Lake Tunnels on the westbound side. The accident in Glenwood Canyon was the third crash in the canyon involving a semi that caused the highway to shut down. Previous accidents happened on Friday and Saturday.
There were reports of minor chain-reaction accidents as motorists attempted to slow down to avoid the overturned semi. The trailer was blocking westbound lanes while the tractor went over the guard rail and onto the eastbound lanes of the interstate. No injuries were reported in the crash.
Motorists Stranded On Interstate70
Following the accident, motorists were stranded in the canyon for hours waiting for a way out. A number of people reported on Facebook they were worried about running out of gas and were low on food and water. Several motorists complained that nobody was checking on them to make sure they were doing okay.
Meanwhile, westbound traffic on I-70 was stopped at the Dotsero exit, where travelers waited alongside the road or turned around and headed for the northern route detour through Steamboat Springs. Initially, there were reports that the Glenwood Canyon closure would be about four hours, but around 2:00, a state patrol office notified motorists along the interstate that I-70 would not be open for the rest of the day and that a 12-hour closure period was likely.
A Long Snowy Detour For I-70 Travelers
The northern detour route is Highways 13, and 131 to Steamboat Springs and Craig and then back south to Rifle. Unfortunately, road conditions on the detour were not good. Snow-packed roads on Highway 13 resulted in a 2-hour drive from the Interstate to Steamboat Springs. One motorist reported they turned around at Dotsero at 2:00 Monday afternoon to take the detour and didn't reach I-70 at Rifle until after 8:00 p.m. - making it a six-hour detour. Because of the high volume of deflected I-70 traffic, it took 45 minutes just to get through Steamboat. Here's a look at the snow-packed Highway 13.
Interstate 70 Reopens Late Monday Night
Just before 10:30 p.m. Monday it was reported that I-70 westbound into Glenwood Canyon had reopened at Dotsero and the eastbound lanes would be opening within an hour. There is currently a lot of snow and ice on Colorado roads and motorists are encouraged to slow down and drive with extra caution.