Both directions of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon have closed again due to a flash flood warning Wednesday.
Closures are in effect between Dotsero and Glenwood Springs and could remain in place due to possible mudslides or debris flows from the Grizzly Creek burn scar, said Megan Stackhouse, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
I-70 @ MP 116 (#GlenwoodSprings) to Exit 133 (Dotsero) both EB & WB is CLOSED due to Flash Flood Warning/potential debris flow over the Grizzly Creek burn scar. Traffic control point is in place at EB Exit 87 (West Rifle) on I-70 to guide motorists to the northern alternate route pic.twitter.com/zsTPHuMkQI— Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) (@ColoradoDOT) August 18, 2021
Motorists traveling east will be guided along a northern detour beginning in Rifle, while western traffic headed to Glenwood Springs and other destinations in the Roaring Fork Valley are asked to used U.S. 6, according to a release.
Chances of rain and showers will continuously increase throughout the evening and through all of Thursday. Prior to the closure, the burn scar area remained fairly dry, despite 50 mph wind gusts, pea-size hail and rain across western Colorado, Stackhouse said.
"We had some light showers come over the northern portion of the burn scar, but nothing too impressive yet," Stackhouse said. "Tomorrow we'll have better coverage focusing on Glenwood Springs east into the Front Range."
Flash #flooding is a concern for much of the region today and tomorrow...in particular vulnerable areas such as burn scars, narrow canyons and steep terrain. Please use caution when travelling in these areas and check the latest forecast before heading out! #cowx #utwx pic.twitter.com/qizKh37Ru0— NWS Grand Junction (@NWSGJT) August 18, 2021
I-70 through Glenwood Canyon has been closed numerous times this year due to heavy rain, mudslides and debris flows caused by the Grizzly Creek burn scar.
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Colorado Department of Transportation officials said on Wednesday the damage incurred has been estimated at $116 million, according to a news release.
Officials said they received $11.6 million within 24 hours of requesting for federal assistance from the Federal Highway Administration.
"We're already putting those dollars to use for expenses like reimbursement for the emergency work to reopen the roadway last weekend, as well as for getting started with more permanent repairs to the roadway," officials wrote in a release.
Damage assessment for non-roadway impacts are ongoing and officials are pursuing several avenues for support from the Stafford Act. These include support for damage cause to the Colorado River, including the burn scar area above the roadway, fixing the Hanging Lake Trail, support to individuals and small businesses and regulatory flexibility, according to the release.