The Colorado Department of Transportation extended a closure in Glenwood Canyon on Interstate 70 late Thursday night due to heavy rain causing several “large” mudslides, the agency said.
The closure shut down exits 87 (West Rifle), 109 (Canyon Creek), 116 (Glenwood Springs) and 133 (Dotsero) and continued into Friday morning.
The agency discouraged drivers from using navigation apps to find alternate routes, but instead urged drivers to use the agency’s recommended detour.
Over 20 people sheltered in place inside a tunnel to take cover from the storm Thursday evening before full closures were implemented, Garfield County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook.
The sheriff’s office, Glenwood Fire Department, Colorado Department of Transportation crews and a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus rescued those stuck in the tunnel Friday morning. The bus transported several people to the recreation center and some drivers were able to follow the bus out with their vehicles, the post said.
Closures have plagued portions of I-70 in Glenwood Canyon in recent weeks as the same section was closed between July 22 and Sunday.
Weather played a major role in the closures as the National Weather Service issued several watches and warnings in the area. Additionally, heavy rain around the Grizzly Creek fire burn scar triggered mudslides and debris flows.
More closures could follow for periods of time this weekend as the forecast calls for rain. Closures depend on the weather, CDOT spokeswoman Elise Thatcher said.
Check updates at cotrip.org, the agency’s Twitter page and by dialing 511.
David Mullen contributed to this report.