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Reopening of I-70 in Colorado Hits Roadblock

March 10, 2010

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The reopening of the portion of Interstate 70 that was hit by a rockslide this week in Colorado is still up in the air
, according to reports by the Aspen Daily News.

Early Monday morning, I-70 in Glenwood Canyon, Colo., was hit by a large rockfall, bringing 20 boulders onto the interstate, ranging in size from three feet to 10 feet in diameter, with the largest weighing about 66 tons.

The Colorado Department of Transportation closed I-70 in both directions at mile market 116 and at Dotsero, mile marker 133.

On Tuesday, CDOT sent a team of six to hike up 900 feet on the mountainside to conduct rock scaling operations. They were able to safely access the unstable rock needing to be brought down. Losing daylight, crews attempted to pry sections loose and locate areas in which to effectively place and then charge explosives, but were unable to do so.

Wednesday morning, the department flew in a helicopter to drop off drilling equipment and a generator for planned drilling/blasting operations. Drilling and blasting as well as other mitigation efforts will be used to bring down the rock.

According to the department, once the boulder is brought down, the hillside scaled and stabilized, and any resulting highway damage is assessed, they will begin to send out information about when the highway can be reopened.

A similar rockslide along I-70 in November 2004 required two months of repair, resulting in damages of $1.2 million, the Aspen Daily News reports.

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