Rockslide closes state Highway 65

Colorado Department of Transportation crews survey one of the massive boulders that crashed onto Hightway 65 on Thursday.

A debris path estimated to be 125 feet wide will take some time to clear for Colorado Highway 65 in Plateau Canyon to re-open, according to a Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) spokeswoman.

A rockslide Thursday afternoon about three miles from the Powderhorn exit on Interstate 70 closed the highway after the slide was reported at 3:15 p.m. The debris field includes at least one boulder the size of a recreational vehicle, according to Tracy Trulove, CDOT communications manager for the region.

Traffic in both directions is being re-routed on the De Beque Cutoff Road during the highway closure.

A re-opening date and time for Highway 65 will depend on weather conditions and the scale of work that needs to be done to break down the largest boulders and clear the estimated 600 to 700 tons of debris in the road and repair the road itself, which Trulove said has been damaged in both lanes.

“It will be awhile to get the rocks on the road demolished and removed. Several broke right through the road,” Trulove said. “This is going to be several days to a week (of work). That’s with everything going well.”

Forecasted rain could complicate the cleanup for a rock scaling contractor expected to assess the situation, Trulove said. The cause of the rockslide has not been determined, although Trulove said a geologist at the scene of the slide Thursday said moisture content in the rocks may have played a role.

Boulders will have to be cleared from the hillsides above the slide as well, according to Trulove.

Several boulders remain on the hillsides, including one that was perched above the scene and moving as of Thursday evening, she said.


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