Closure of Glenwood Canyon could send more trucks and traffic to Steamboat Springs |

Closure of Glenwood Canyon could send more trucks and traffic to Steamboat Springs

A long line of traffic waits for crews to clear a semi-truck accident that closed Colorado Highway 131 near Oak Creek for about an hour in February. The road, which served as a detour route for thousands of vehicles that cannot go through Glenwood Canyon on Interstate 70, saw several traffic delays.
Scott Franz

— Rockfall mitigation work in Glenwood Canyon on Wednesday and Thursday is poised to send some more trucks and traffic on a long, construction-filled detour through Northwest Colorado.

But the overall impact to local roads is not expected to be as great as it was back in February when the canyon was closed for several days and the increased truck traffic contributed to the need for a $6 million emergency repair of a bridge.

Interstate 70 between Dotsero and Glenwood Springs is now being closed from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for two days to allow a helicopter to conduct emergency rockfall mitigation.

Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Tracy Trulove said several of the large commercial vehicles on the interstate will likely forgo the 146-mile detour through Steamboat Springs and Craig, and instead, wait out the nearly seven-hour closure of the Interstate.

Some passenger vehicles now also have the option to use Independence Pass as a shorter detour route around Glenwood Canyon.

Drivers ultimately have different options depending on which direction they are traveling and what type of vehicles they are in.

Drivers who do choose to take the detour route through Northwest Colorado are poised to encounter even more delays as they travel through several construction zones.

“It feels like all of Western Colorado is in a construction zone right now,” State Transportation Commission Chairwoman Kathy Connell said.

Drivers who take U.S. Highway 40 over Rabbit Ears Pass will encounter a road-paving project.

Drivers who take Colorado Highway 9 will encounter the major road work project between Kremmling and Silverthorne.

And drivers who take Colorado Highway 131 will encounter a one-lane road on a bridge near State Bridge as crews work to repave the highway.

Delays from that bridge project have been as long as 20 minutes in recent days as drivers in both directions have to take turns crossing the bridge.

Any additional traffic on Colo. 131 from the closure of Glenwood Canyon is likely to increase those delays.

To plan their trip, drivers can click here to view the alternative routes, or visit

Connell said the closure is another reason she is working to get more funding for improvements to roads in Northwest Colorado that are used as detours during the closure of I-70.

She praised a planned resiliency study that will study the future of detour routes in Northwest Colorado that go around Glenwood Canyon.

“This resiliency study is extremely important to Northwest Colorado, because we just don’t have other routes,” Connell said.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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