Westbound lanes of I-70 in Glenwood Canyon to reopen after wildfire closure.

Westbound traffic, on the northern deck of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon, will reopen Friday after a long closure because of the Grizzly Peak fire.

Drivers can expect continued lane closures through the canyon but the head-to-head traffic detour is coming to an end, the Colorado Department of Transportation said in a news release.

CDOT crews have been steadily working on repairing the road surface from fire damage, which included rock and debris slides.

The interstate was shut down in both directions between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum on Aug. 10, the day the wildfire erupted in the canyon. On Aug. 24, a limited reopening happened in what were the traditional eastbound lanes, with lower highway speeds and oncoming traffic to allow travel in both directions.

It was the longest-ever closure for that stretch — two weeks — of the heavily trafficked east-west corridor, forcing motorists to detour to the north via Interstate 80 or the south on U.S. 285 and U.S. 50.

“Our local communities and statewide travelers know the vital role that I-70 in Glenwood Canyon plays in our state’s transportation network,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew in the release. “For Colorado, this project helps to improve the longevity of this critical infrastructure and ensure the safe, multimodal movement of people and goods.”

The stretch of highway was already undergoing major repairs and upkeep when the wildfire struck. COVID-19 concerns also played a role in how highway officials were able to respond to the shutdown.

“Despite all the challenges this project has faced, the engineering and contracting team have been able to deliver impressive progress,” said CDOT Region 3 Transportation Director Michael Goolsby. “This is a great example of partnership and leadership at its finest.”

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