Association warns of bad I-70 shortcut in Colorado

Updated Feb 27, 2016
A rockslide on I-70 in Colorado struck this truck on Feb. 15. (CDOT photo)

A Colorado trucking organization is warning truck drivers not to believe everything they read on the Internet about alternatives to taking I-70 through Glenwood Canyon.

The Colorado Motor Carriers Association posted this statement on their website:

“A warning to all CMV’s who try to take the short route as suggested by Google Maps and other Smartphone apps: Independence Pass is not a SHORT CUT!! You will have to go all the way back to I-70!!!! This will use up several of your driving hours.

“The suggested route is to take Hwy 50 across the south-central part of the state to connect to the East side of Colorado. US 50 over Monarch Pass is a high mountain pass with a lot of snow. Please remember if the roads are snowpack and icy, please use your tire chains or AutoSocks. We have had numerous trucks that have been jackknifing and closing the road in the last several days. These closures are lasting more than two hours and have been caused by unchained CMV’s. This is only adding to the already lengthy reroute to get across the state.

“Drivers face a $500 fine if they are found traveling without chains when the chain law is in effect and will receive a $1,000 fine if it leads to a lane or road closure.

“In addition, if you require a tow that adds an additional $500 or $1,000. Overall cost of not complying can be upward to $2,000. A good set of chains costs less than $100 while a set of AutoSocks, which take less than 5 minutes to apply, may cost $150.

“Be smart and be prepared by having chains or something like AutoSocks and use them.”

A large rockslide Feb. 15 and the resulting cleanup of about 400 tons of rocks has lead to a closure and then partial shutdown of I-70, a major east/west route through Colorado. The Colorado Department of Transportation opens one lane of I-70 from 4 p.m. to 9 a.m. for vehicles less than 10 feet wide. Pilot cars escort drivers through the canyon and CDOT warns travelers to expect two-hour delays.

Here’s what The Denver Post wrote about the situation.