Update: Portions of I-70, U.S. 91 now open
A stretch of I-70, between Frisco and Copper Mountain, shut down due to avalanches during the early morning hours before sunrise, reopened just after 10 a.m. Thursday morning. U.S. 91 has also been re-opened, after a precautionary closure following an avalanche behind the Conoco station at Copper Mountain. The avalanche caused a gas leak that prompted some evacuations and road closures surrounding the area.
A portion of I-70 remains closed both directions west of Copper Mountain, due to a separate avalanche on Vail Pass. The Colorado Dept. of Transportation has not made any announcements on when that portion of the Interstate will be reopened.
7 a.m.: The snow just doesn’t seem to stop this year. Another avalanche closed a portion of I-70 between Copper Mountain and Vail in both directions early Thursday morning and at this time the interstate is still closed. A tow truck driver and his truck were caught in the slide, but the driver is uninjured and the truck is being freed from the snow.
The Colorado State Patrol began to detour traffic from the freeway, going south on U.S. 91 to Leadville and around the slide. But stopped detouring traffic when a gas leak caused by the heavy snowfall has also closed that road.
Highway 91 will remain closed until at least mid-morning while the road is cleared and mitigation is done to reduce the avalanche hazard. The area has received more than a foot of snow in the past 24 hours. The snow was preceded by rain, which also fell in large portions of Chaffee County, making conditions more conducive to avalanches.