Interstate 70 reopens after rockslide shuts down road for hours

A line of cars can be seen exiting at Beaver Brook following a westbound closure on I-70. (Photo: CDOT)

IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. (GAZETTE) - Interstate 70 reopened Friday evening after a morning rockslide closed both directions of the highway, the Colorado Department of Transportation reported.

The slide happened at mile marker 248, near Beaver Brook, CDOT said in a news release. Eastbound I-70 was reopened about 4 p.m. after being closed for hours while crews did mitigation work to remove unstable rock. I-70 closures were at Exit 203 Frisco and Exit 205 Silverthorne. Eastbound U.S. 6 Loveland Pass was closed from to Arapahoe Basin to I-70. Westbound lanes were reopened about 6 p.m.

Despite the road openings, travelers were still warned to remain careful of winter weather advisories, as wind speeds up to 75 mph whipped through the state.

"Travelers should take care as winter weather and strong winds move into the area," CDOT said. "Mitigation teams were successful in removing unsafe rocks to restore traffic. As cleanup continues in westbound lanes, CDOT anticipates reopening in that direction later today, after the strongest snow bands push through the area."

The agency warned motorists earlier to find alternate routes. From eastbound I-70 in the mountain corridor, CDOT recommended drivers use U.S. 24, Colorado 91 or Colorado 9 to connect to U.S. 285 towards Denver. Denver metro-area travelers headed toward Summit County were advised to use U.S 285. to Colorado 9 or U.S. 24, but were warned that the detour may have delays as well due to higher volumes of traffic.

"We appreciate that the ongoing closure is disruptive to the traveling public and makes it difficult to travel to the mountains from the Front Range on the holiday weekend," an afternoon news release read. "Unfortunately, detour routes add significant delays to travel time, so those traveling may want to adjust their plans to avoid the closure."

CDOT said westbound vehicles that were halted between Beaver Brook and Dumont (mile marker 236), were being turned around to head back east.