A pilot car operation — directing single-lane, alternating traffic — will be begin Thursday and traffic will be routed to the eastbound lanes, which were not heavily damaged. According to CDOT, the pilot car operation could continue for several days while repairs and additional rock stabilization are completed. As repairs progress, CDOT will move to open one lane in each direction.
It could be several weeks before the damage to the roadway walls and roadway are repaired and the interstate is fully open to regular traffic operations, according to CDOT.
CDOT is suggesting a way to avoid the canyon:
“The alternate route for westbound motorists is north on CO 131 at Wolcott to Steamboat Springs, west on US 40 to Craig, then south on CO 13 to Rifle and back to I-70. This is a 203-mile alternate route that will take about three hours and 50 minutes to travel. This detour adds 146 miles and about three hours to a regular trip from Wolcott to Rifle on I-70, which is 67 miles or about 45 minutes. Cottonwood Pass is closed and is not a viable alternate route.
“I-70 drivers headed to areas in the southern part of the state are advised to use U.S. 50 as an alternate route. Access to Highway 50 is available via Grand Junction for eastbound drivers and for westbound drivers by way of U.S. 285 through the Salida area from the Front Range.”
CDOT suggests drivers check www.cotrip.org for roadway conditions.