“What’s really important is to get it fixed before ski season. There’s more alternatives in summer for safer travel and scenery. It’s absolutely critical to be fully functioning by ski season. There are areas that are under 10 feet or more of mud at this point. Until that can be removed we won’t know the exact damage.” -Gov. Jared Polis
Colorado Governor Jared Polis says he will declare a state disaster for the flooding and mudslide damage to Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon. CBS reports it’s unknown when the road could reopen and Polis says he also intends to request a federal declaration under the Stafford Act.
The section of interstate has been closed since Thursday night after heavy rain sent monumental amounts of debris across the road. As for reopening timeline, the Governor says best case scenario is a few days but it might be a few weeks.
“I know this closure has a big impact on Colorado. We still are not out of this yet. We need to watch closely for the next few weeks, month, and it could get worse.”
The slide not only covered the road, but filled the Colorado River and diverted the water creating additional issues the state has to address:
“It’s diverting up against the highway in some areas causing more damage. Or against the other side of the river where it could eventually erode the railway.” –Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety Stan Hilkey
Colorado is working with federal departments like the Army Corps of Engineers, and other water entities to properly address the issues in the river. When the road is able to reopen it will likely be one-lane of traffic in each direction. Polis said he expects a fully operation interstate by the winter. Currently drivers are being detoured up to Steamboat Springs and truck drivers are urged to take Interstate 80 through Wyoming.