Crews remove huge boulders along Colo. highway

By P. Solomon Banda

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, April 5 2011 4:46 p.m. MDT

This photo provided by the Colorado Department of Transportation Tuesday April 5, 2011, shows a 25-mile stretch of Interstate I-70, Colorado's vital east-west highway, closed for boulder removal above the one-time silver mining town of Georgetown. Large boulders, as well as some smaller rocks, have been brought down so far Tuesday above the highway interstate. Crews plan to remove a total of 40 boulders at risk of rolling onto the highway. The state transportation department says none of the rocks have rolled onto the highway or to nearby houses on the other side of the road. Residents of five homes were asked to evacuate during the work.

Colorado Department of Transportation, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

GEORGETOWN, Colo. — A 25-mile stretch of Colorado's main east-west highway is open again after being closed since morning while crews removed unstable boulders from a mountainside that were threatening to tumble onto traffic 300 feet below.

State transportation officials say crews were able to remove all the rocks and boulders Tuesday that were considered immediate threats. Some of the boulders on the mountainside along Interstate 70 were as big as pickup trucks. A few houses in the area about 45 miles west of Denver were evacuated as a precaution.

Falling boulders killed two people on I-70 in the area in 1999.

Most of the work is finished, but there will be traffic stops of about 20 minutes Wednesday for clean-up work and a new net to catch falling rocks will be installed over the next two weeks.

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