Rock slide closes one lane of Highway 82 east of Aspen
State Highway 82 just east of Aspen on the west side of Independence Pass was restricted to one lane of alternating traffic Wednesday morning after a small rock slide, according to Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) officials.
At about 6 a.m., CDOT closed the highway after some smaller rocks came down onto the highway (the largest being four feet by four feet). No vehicles were impacted. By 7 a.m., CDOT opened the road to single-lane, alternating traffic while maintenance crews conduct minor rock scaling. Clean-up efforts continue and traffic is moving. A full re-open will be announced on www.cotrip.org.
To the northwest along Interstate70 at about 8 a.m. Wednesday, CDOT closed all eastbound and westbound lanes just east of Palisade (MP 46) on the western edge of DeBeque Canyon in Mesa County.
A large rock – at least eight feet by eight feet -- came down onto the eastbound lanes, fully blocking traffic. No vehicles or people were impacted. While only smaller rock and debris came into the westbound lanes, the interstate remains fully closed in both directions since the hillside has yet to be stabilized.
CDOT rockfall contractor Yenter Companies is onsite and preparing to conduct rock scaling – likely bringing rocks down with the use of pry bars as well as airbags (inserted in cracks and inflated), if necessary.
Yenter estimates the closure of I-70 could remain in place until late afternoon or early evening – but that could change, depending upon how much rock is brought down, how long it takes to blast the large rock on the roadway and haul it away, and the stabilization of the hillside.
Motorists are urged to continue checking updates on www.cotrip.org and/or calling 511. CDOT will make every effort to post an estimated reopen time so that motorists may plan their trips, but this cannot be done with complete certainty until the majority of the scaling is complete.
Westbound travelers will take SH 65 over Grand Mesa, then US 50 from Delta up to Grand Junction. Eastbound travelers will take the same route in reverse. This approximately 90-mile detour will add about an hour and a half to trips.
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