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Author Topic: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire  (Read 4457 times)

thenetwork

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I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« on: August 15, 2020, 10:24:39 AM »

Earlier this week, a Wildfire started near the western end of Glenwood Canyon along I-70.

The Grizzly Creek fire is currently uncontained and continues to spread east through the canyon. As a result, I-70 is completely closed between Glenwood / Exit 116 and Gypsum / Exit 140, essentially cutting off travel between Denver and Grand Junction as the only detours are either US-40 or US-50, adding 2-3+ hours to travel.

CDOT has also closed Cottonwood and Independence (CO-82) passes due to the large amount of large Trucks and RVs attempting to use these roads which are normally not permitted to do so normally.

And with the fire affecting I-70, some of the elevated bridges may have been compromised and rockfall possibilities have increased, which may extend this closure well into next week.

For those familiar with the Hanging Lake areanin the canyon, as of Friday it has not been affected, and their priority is to try to save that fragile and scenic area.

That and the major fire just north of Grand Junction as.largely contributing to all smoke and visibility issues over the divide and into the Front Range.
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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2020, 11:03:00 AM »

So SLC-Denver traffic now has to use US-40 to Idaho Springs, or CO-9 to Silverthorne. And Grand Jct-Denver traffic has to take US-50 to US-285.
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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2020, 04:03:16 PM »

As of this morning, they reopened CO 82/Independence pass with a flagger/metering system. They'll turn around any vehicles over 35 feet in length (that are never permitted over the pass), and let passenger cars through.

They also believe the fire started from some sparks from a hubcap or chain on I-70. This YouTube video shows the beginnings of the fire on I-70.

So SLC-Denver traffic now has to use US-40 to Idaho Springs, or CO-9 to Silverthorne. And Grand Jct-Denver traffic has to take US-50 to US-285.

Yes, those are the preferred detour routes. Add to that a third fire west of Fort Collins that's closed CO 14 and cross-state travel is really compromised.

And, the air quality in the Denver metro area is no joke. I woke up and couldn't see the mountains this morning. This is the sun behind the haze at about 5:15 pm last night at the US 36/CO 121 interchange in Broomfield:



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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2020, 04:21:49 PM »

So crazy how quickly that built up.  I was just through there two weeks ago.  Wild to think of the difference between then and now.

Chris

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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2020, 07:13:12 PM »

So crazy how quickly that built up.  I was just through there two weeks ago.  Wild to think of the difference between then and now.

Chris

i am about 40 miles below the cameron peak fire.. sh 14 is closed from rustic to gould, which is like .. what 50 miles or so? the smoke is pretty thick where i am sitting right now -- little ashy things are falling, and the sun is a beautiful red.


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thenetwork

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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2020, 09:08:49 PM »

And the normal "northern detour" for I-70 via US-40 is messed up along CO-13 just north of Rifle with the rebuilding of a 5-7 mile stretch of roadway -- gravel/dirt surfaces with one lane alternating traffic. 

I was on the southern detour / US-50 midweek and traffic around Blue Mesa and Gunnison looked like peak holiday weekend traffic. 
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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2020, 09:11:03 PM »

So SLC-Denver traffic now has to use US-40 to Idaho Springs, or CO-9 to Silverthorne.

Most SLC-Denver traffic already uses I-80.

thenetwork

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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2020, 09:14:21 PM »

And the normal "northern detour" for I-70 via US-40 is messed up along CO-13 just north of Rifle with the rebuilding of a 5-7 mile stretch of roadway -- gravel/dirt surfaces with one lane alternating traffic. 

I was on the southern detour / US-50 midweek and traffic around Blue Mesa and Gunnison looked like peak holiday weekend traffic. 

CDOT has also set up a mandatory CMV "inspection station" just east of New Castle along I-70 EB -- likely to nab semis who "think" they can use Independence Pass as a detour.
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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2020, 10:42:47 PM »

So SLC-Denver traffic now has to use US-40 to Idaho Springs, or CO-9 to Silverthorne.

Most SLC-Denver traffic already uses I-80.
So SLC-Denver traffic now has to use US-40 to Idaho Springs, or CO-9 to Silverthorne. And Grand Jct-Denver traffic has to take US-50 to US-285.

Like 89 said, who are all these people that aren't just taking the faster (even under normal conditions) I-80 between Denver and SLC?

JayhawkCO

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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2020, 11:19:49 AM »

So SLC-Denver traffic now has to use US-40 to Idaho Springs, or CO-9 to Silverthorne.

Most SLC-Denver traffic already uses I-80.
So SLC-Denver traffic now has to use US-40 to Idaho Springs, or CO-9 to Silverthorne. And Grand Jct-Denver traffic has to take US-50 to US-285.

Like 89 said, who are all these people that aren't just taking the faster (even under normal conditions) I-80 between Denver and SLC?

As discussed in another thread, it depends on where in the metro area you're going.  Lakewood, CO to West Jordan, UT is nominally faster going I-70, US6, I-15.  Strictly "Downtown Salt Like City" to "Downtown Denver" is a little quicker on I-80, but it varies within the metros.

Chris

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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2020, 08:12:32 PM »

I just listened to CDOT's press conference re the Glenwood Canyon closure. The link to the recording is here.

My takeaways are:

1. This is the longest Glenwood Canyon closure since I-70 opened through there in 1995 (10 days and counting). The previous record was a rockfall event that closed it for 7 days in 2016.

2. Executive Director Shoshana Lew said the reopening would be measured in days, not weeks. She said they'll know better in the next 24 hours with the storms and rainfall about providing a reopening date.

3. I-70 was under construction already and there was two-lane traffic in the eastbound lanes prior to the fire. The eastbound lanes have little to no damage. The westbound lanes have a different vantage point and were described as Armageddon. They are concerned about mudslides and additional rockfall as a result of the fire.

4. Traffic has been good at not trying to blow through the I-70 closures. Oddly enough, emergency vehicles and permitted traffic have caused accidents in the closure zone, mostly due to distraction and awe of the fire.

5. They are still turning around trucks that are trying to detour across Independence Pass, though the new flagging operations make them turn around before the tight spots. They are working with the navigation companies with marking these inappropriate detour routes, but for some reason they keep defaulting back to being marked as open routes for trucks. Before they closed Independence Pass, over 70 trucks got stuck/needed turned around there.

6.  A reporter asked about improving Cottonwood Pass (the one between Eagle and Garfield counties, not the more famous one from Buena Vista to Gunnison County) as an alternate route for I-70 closures. Director Lew stated she couldn't comment on routes in general, but they know the I-70 corridor has a lack of resiliency for alternate routes when the canyon is closed, even for general weather events.
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thenetwork

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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2020, 08:56:09 AM »

On Wednesday, CDOT closed CO-139 over Douglas Pass due to the Pine Gulch fire near Grand Junction.

As a result, the only open route in Western Colorado which gives access to north and northwest Colorado is CO-13 out of Rifle, which is also the I-70 northern detour route.

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zachary_amaryllis

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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2020, 12:38:40 AM »

On Wednesday, CDOT closed CO-139 over Douglas Pass due to the Pine Gulch fire near Grand Junction.

As a result, the only open route in Western Colorado which gives access to north and northwest Colorado is CO-13 out of Rifle, which is also the I-70 northern detour route.

an upcoming trip i have to steamboat, from the greeley area, isn't looking good either. either via laramie / woods landing / walden, via trail ridge / us 40, or via i-25 / i-70 / us 40.

yeesh. what a hot mess. so bummed about watching my beloved mountains burning.
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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2020, 08:46:37 AM »

As of a few minutes ago, I-70 has reopened between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum. The fire is now 22% contained.
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thenetwork

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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2020, 08:40:14 PM »

As of a few minutes ago, I-70 has [url=https://kdvr.com/news/local/i-70-closed-in-glenwood-springs-due-to-wildfire/]reopened][/url]
As of a few minutes ago, I-70 has [url=https://kdvr.com/news/local/i-70-closed-in-glenwood-springs-due-to-wildfire/]reopened[/url] between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum. The fire is now 22% contained.

I-70 thru Glenwood Canyon will still be iffy for the weeks to come as any significant rain could trigger mudslides  in the burn area. Same thing if the winds shift unexpectedly and the flames head back towards the interstate.

In fact, as of 630 pm MDT, the canyon was closed again for a short-term emergency closure (it has since reopened).

Meanwhile, north and west of Grand Junction, CO-139 remains closed south of Douglas Pass due to the Pine Gulch Fire.  CO-13 still remains the only North-South alternative between I-70 and US-40 in NW Colo.
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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2020, 08:58:43 PM »

How are things looking now, for I-70 in general in CO? I might be driving through there next week.
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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2020, 09:25:13 PM »

How are things looking now, for I-70 in general in CO? I might be driving through there next week.
Just drove through there. It's fine. Much better condition than I-80 currently.
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thenetwork

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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2020, 12:52:23 AM »

How are things looking now, for I-70 in general in CO? I might be driving through there next week.
Just drove through there. It's fine. Much better condition than I-80 currently.

Still 2-way traffic thru the western half of the canyon due to construction that was going on prior to the wildfire.

Now that precipitation has finally been re-introduced to the region, it could loosen the rocks and/or soil enough to cause short-term delays, but CDOT is pretty good at clearing rock/mud slides and heavy snow within a short period of time.

There is also mostly nighttime closures of one of the two tubes at the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnels due to paving.  Otherwise, west of the Divide, 70 is in pretty good shape.

Over in the Denver area, I-70 between I-270 and I-25 is undergoing a rebuilding, but that area is usually slow and crowded without the barrels.

Still worth the trip!
« Last Edit: September 09, 2020, 01:01:37 AM by thenetwork »
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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2020, 04:37:51 PM »

Google Maps shows the locations of the fires in California, as well as the Cameron Peaks & Williams Fork Fires west of Denver: https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9056103,-105.9074984,77977m/data=!3m1!1e3. One has to be in the 5 miles or less zoom out to see these fire designations though.
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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2022, 09:21:15 PM »

Kicking for yet another fire that's indefinitely closed Glenwood Canyon this afternoon.
https://denver.cbslocal.com/2022/04/16/duck-pond-fire-glenwood-canyon-i70-closed-evacuations/


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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2022, 12:35:16 AM »

Kicking for yet another fire that's indefinitely closed Glenwood Canyon this afternoon.
https://denver.cbslocal.com/2022/04/16/duck-pond-fire-glenwood-canyon-i70-closed-evacuations/



Jumped the gun.  It's already reopened.

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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2022, 05:13:35 PM »

An April wildfire, eh Colorado? Uh boy, gonna be another one of those years.
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thenetwork

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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2022, 12:34:43 AM »

Just went by the recent wildfire scar between Dotsero and Gypsum.  Very miniscule compared to what happened in Glenwood Canyon 2 years ago.

The reason why Glenwood Canyon was closed is that the only detour around I-70/US-6 in the Dotsero area is via Colorado River Road to State Bridge (a winding, narrow partial dirt & gravel road) then down SR-131 back to I-70 at Wolcott, which is not a detour for trucks nor for a lot of interstate relief traffic for smaller vehicles.

But the fire is out, and will not have repercussions as the burn scars had in Glenwood Canyon.
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Re: I-70/Glenwood Canyon Wildfire
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2022, 10:37:27 PM »

At some point maybe when bigger projects are proposed a new I-70 Glenwood Canyon Project can be made. Well, at least for now Ill just leave this here: https://www.denverpost.com/2022/04/28/glenwood-canyon-cleanup-mudslides-i-70/
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