I-70 rest areas to close Sunday, April 2, 2021

I-70 through Glenwood Canyon. Photo Credit: inkknife_2000 (10 million + views) (Flickr).

Rest areas along the heavily traveled Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon will close at 5 PM Sunday due to flash flooding risks, Colorado Department of Transportation said.

The No Name, Grizzly Creek, Hanging Lake and Bair Ranch rest areas along I-70 will close due to weather forecasts calling for rainfall above the Grizzly Creek fire burn scar. The human-caused Grizzly Creek fire scorched the canyon in late 2020, totaling 32,631 acres. The canyon is famous for Hanging Lake, a hiking trail that leads to a turquoise forest lake and waterfall.

Officials expect to keep the rest areas closed overnight Sunday. All lanes of I-70 will remain open depending on weather despite the rest area closures.

The closures are necessary to allow CDOT crews to prepare for potential safety closures due to events such as rock slides, flooding, and other risks associated with heavy rainfall in burned areas.

If there is moderate, heavy, or extreme rainfall in Glenwood Canyon over the Grizzly Creek fire burn scar, it is very likely there will be a debris flow, mudslides, and rockfall, the department said in a news release. To protect motorists from these and other hazards, CDOT has a safety closure protocol in place.

Colorado's transportation department said if a flash flood watch is in effect in Glenwood Canyon, the stretch of I-70 will close entirely and all traffic will need to evacuate quickly and immediately, the news release said.

Officials said if there is rain in the forecast for this area, be prepared for a safety closure of I-70, rest areas, and the recreation path.

Always check the weather forecast before embarking on any adventure and be prepared for quickly changing weather in Colorado. For updated road closures and conditions, visit www.cotrip.org.

Colorado Department of Transportation recommend the following tips for motorists who encounter inclement weather:

- Do not leave your car unless absolutely necessary.

- Never hang out in the grassy median located between lanes. If traffic is moving in the opposite direction, the median can be a hazardous area. Emergency response vehicles and heavy equipment may also need the median area to move about and access the emergency scene.

- Lengthy closures on the interstate may also be the result of staged releases. As stopped traffic backs up, traffic will be let go in stages to allow traffic queues ahead to clear, before releasing more traffic.

Leslie James is all about Colorado when it comes to writing features, sharing adventures, and creating colorful galleries. She loves camping, hiking, mountain biking and snowboarding. Leslie joined OutThere Colorado in November 2020.

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