Flood watches in US West as mudslides close major interstate
- United States
Mudslides from heavy rains caused ''extreme damage” to a major interstate and left it blocked with piles of boulders and logs, Colorado transportation officials have said, as forecasters warned of more flash floods in the coming days across the Rocky Mountain and Great Basin regions.
Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado, was closed with no word on when it might re-open after being pounded by flash floods over a three-day period. Lanes in both directions remained blocked by debris that flowed out of the burn scar from a wildfire last year in the Grizzly Creek area.
The torrent of rocks that came tumbling down the canyon's steep walls smashed apart sections of the concrete roadway and sheared off a long section of steel guardrail, photos provided by state officials showed.
An approximately 46-mile (74-kilometre) stretch of the interstate was closed. Transportation officials advised long-distance truckers to detour north onto Interstate 80 through Wyoming.
Crews were still assessing damage late Sunday. They had been working to clear the highway since Thursday when another flash flood hit Saturday, forcing them to evacuate the area and causing even more damage.
“When we know exactly what the damage is, then we'll have a better idea'' on when it could reopen, said Colorado Department of Transportation spokesperson Tamara Rollison.
“It's not just clearing the debris. There's also the damage,'' she said. “Our engineering staff have never seen anything like this before.” More than 100 people had to spend the night on the highway Thursday night, including nearly 30 who took refuge in a tunnel following the mudslides in western Colorado.
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