Logistics and Considerations Surrounding Opening Glenwood Canyon after a Major Rockfall Event

This presentation highlights the efforts of those involved in opening I-70 through Glenwood Canyon after the February 15, 2016 rockfall event. Clearing rocks from the roadway is just one small step in what it takes to ensure traveller safety to the point of reopening the road. Blasting of boulders and trucking them away was not the number one priority on this emergency project. First, the slope had to be assessed for rocks that remained precarious and in eminent danger of falling to the roadway below. Helicopter access for safety scalers and their equipment was hampered by the weather in the first few days of this project, leaving the crew to pack in air bags, bars, and even compressed air canisters to begin the scaling operations. The interstate was closed to all travellers not working on this slide until the most dangerous rocks could be scaled from the slope. Steel bars, and airbags were used to dislodge the remaining boulders. With a full closure in place, many of the rocks were allowed to roll to both the West and Eastbound lanes of I-70. Some of the rocks came to rest in the lower deck or Eastbound lanes and still others made it all the way to the Colorado River, even with some temporary rockfall fences in place. With the opening of the interstate to intermittent traffic, further measures were taken to limit the continued destruction of the travel lanes and prevent large boulders from coming to rest in the eastbound lanes. Rocks in the lower deck would further delay reopening of the interstate to even limited traffic. After traffic was released in both directions on the Eastbound lanes, the work continued to stabilize areas of nested boulders that were not scaled down. This included cable lashing and netting to confine the nested boulders and prevent initiation of more rockfalls. This subsequent work required close coordination with the traffic flow in order to continue the use of the helicopter to assist in this work. Flight rules do not allow suspended loads under a helicopter with traffic below. Therefore, although traffic was released, there was still a need for intermittent stoppages of traffic during flights for tools and materials.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References;
  • Pagination: pp 535-554
  • Monograph Title: Proceedings of the 67th Highway Geology Symposium (HGS 2016)

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01630381
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 27 2017 9:35AM