Colorado Governor Updates Glenwood Canyon Damage

GOLDEN, CO (STL.News) Governor Jared Polis and administration officials updated the state on the situation in Glenwood Canyon.  The Governor was joined by Shoshana Lew, Executive Director, CDOT, Stan Hilkey, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Public Safety, Chief Matthew Packard, Colorado State Patrol.

“The state, local and federal authorities are working to clear debris from the canyon as quickly and safely as possible.  We are also readying a state disaster declaration and a request for a federal declaration with the Biden administration,” said Governor Polis.  “Glenwood Canyon is majestic, but its majestic nature makes for challenges when it comes to infrastructure, especially in the face of catastrophic climate change affecting states across the West.  We have extensive damage to I-70 in multiple locations in Glenwood Canyon, and the monsoon weather pattern means this threat is ongoing.”

“CDOT is focused on two immediate areas of concern: removing debris so that we can scope the needs for permanent repairs and focusing on sections of the viaduct structures where the parapet and scallop walls have been destroyed,” said CDOT Director Shoshana Lew.  “Beyond these immediate priorities CDOT’s operational concerns include establishing safe westbound passage through the canyon for CDOT staff, the Shoshone power plant dam, and Xcel.  Reestablishing consistent power will be necessary for CDOT operations staff to resume normal operations of the Hanging Lake Tunnel complex.  Given the extensive damage to some areas, it will be some time before traffic can move in the manner it normally would.”

Average monthly rainfall for Glenwood Canyon during the month of July is 2.4 inches, but a total 4 inches dropped in just a five day period, causing significant damage.  At a news conference from CDOT’s operations center, the Governor showed aerial drone footage showing the extreme damage from the mudslides.

Governor Polis announced that the state is getting ready to issue the state disaster declaration and preparing the request for a federal declaration under the Stafford Act.

The Polis administration is taking immediate action to clear the damage and rebuild as soon as it is safely possible.  There has been extensive damage to the I-70 viaduct in multiple locations in Glenwood Canyon, and the monsoon weather pattern means this threat will continue.