Car-sized rock hits I-70 near Glenwood

A large boulder lies in the westbound lanes of Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon on Monday.

No vehicles were struck when a car-sized rock dropped onto westbound Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon around 6 a.m. Monday, the Colorado Department of Transportation said.

The rock, while large, dropped from a low spot along the canyon, causing only minor roadway damage.

The incident occurred about two miles west of the Hanging Lake Tunnels.

CDOT said the incident resulted in intermittent closures of both lanes while crews broke up the rock and hauled it away Monday afternoon, and then patched about a 1-foot pothole in the pavement. The work was completed by mid-afternoon.

CDOT spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said the rock fell from a spot below rockfall fencing, which also wouldn’t have been able to stop it because of its size.

She said a CDOT specialist determined no follow-up rockfall mitigation work is required in the area.

She said the recent deep freeze and subsequent warming temperatures have resulted in an early start to this year’s rockfall season. As moisture seeps into soil and cracks in rocks, freezes and thaws loosen them.

“Everything is warm and wet and rocks are coming down,” Shanks said.

Nearly 10 miles of U.S. Highway 50 between Grand Junction and Delta were closed in both directions for almost two hours Monday night because of numerous accidents, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation’s website.

The closures were between milemarkers 48 and 57 and started at 6:23 p.m. The road reopened at approximately 8:45 p.m.

Eastbound Interstate 70 also was closed for more than an hour Monday night in Glenwood Canyon at milemarker 116 because of an accident, CDOT said.

CDOT listed the road conditions Monday night on Highway 50 as “snow, icy, and snow-packed spots.” Conditions were similar through Glenwood Canyon.

Staff writer Melinda Mawdsley contributed to this report.


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