DENVER (AP) — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Monday he was planning to issue a state disaster declaration and it could be “a few days to a few weeks” before a canyon in the western part of the state can be reopened following massive mudslides that blocked Interstate 70, a major transportation corridor between the Rocky Mountains and the West Coast.
Polis said during a news conference that crews were working to clear debris and mud from the interstate, and he hopes to soon have at least one lane in each direction open through Glenwood Canyon.
The interstate through the canyon was closed after flash floods and mudslides stranded more than 100 motorists in their vehicles overnight Thursday. Lanes in both directions remain blocked by debris that flowed out of the burn scar from a wildfire last year in the Grizzly Creek area.
“We won’t be fully aware of the extent of the structural damage until some of the debris is cleared,” Polis said. “There are areas that are under 10 feet (3 meters) or more of mud at this point.”
He had planned to tour the damage Monday but couldn’t because a helicopter was grounded by rain and hail in the area.