I-70 Through Glenwood Canyon To Partially Reopen Saturday, Polis Says

A destroyed section of I-70 in Glenwood Canyon. Aug. 11, 2021.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A destroyed section of I-70 in Glenwood Canyon. Aug. 11, 2021.

Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon will open Saturday, Gov. Jared Polis said.

The highway has been closed for nearly two weeks after a flash flood triggered a slide that sent tons of mud, rocks and other debris down the steep canyon slopes and onto the highway, trapping motorists and snarling traffic across the state.

Polis made the announcement from the canyon Wednesday morning as he surveyed the damage and cleanup progress with other state officials. Polis said Colorado Department of Transportation crews had done heroic work that made Saturday's planned opening possible.

"They've worked tirelessly," Polis said.

Both lanes will be open in both directions throughout the canyon, Polis said, with a few exceptions in locations where repairs are needed. A large hole, which Polis dubbed the "pothole from hell," on the eastbound lanes, will need to be filled before then.

"There is literally no road on the eastbound, and significant damage on the westbound," Polis said.

CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew said the "incredible" progress crews have made in the last week make the reopening plans for Saturday possible.

"Standing in this spot a week ago, it looked wholly different than it does today," she said.

Lew and Polis said any rain between now and Saturday could slow down those plans.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
This sediment in the Colorado River didn't exist before mudslides in Glenwood Canyon. The river cut its own way through. Aug. 11, 2021.