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Part of interstate reopens after rock slide

Large boulders damage road, disrupt travel in Colorado

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Part of I-70 in western Colorado is closed because of a rock slide.

(CNN) -- Road crews opened one eastbound and one westbound lane of Interstate 70 in Colorado on Friday, one day after a massive rock slide east of Glenwood Springs closed the freeway and forced motorists to take a detour of more than 200 miles.

The lanes were open as of 3:20 p.m. (5:20 p.m. ET), Colorado Department of Transportation officials said.

On Thursday, 30 to 40 large rocks crashed onto the roadway, including boulders up to 8 feet by 10 feet in size, CDOT said.

An engineer on site said one boulder was the size of a van. The slide zone was estimated to be up to 100 feet long and eight to 10 feet deep.

The slide forced the closure of a 17-mile stretch of interstate.

No one was on that portion of the interstate when the slide occurred, and no one was injured, Nancy Shanks, another CDOT spokeswoman, said Thursday.

The slide caused significant damage to both sides of the interstate.

The rocks punched holes into two bridge decks on the eastbound lanes, authorities said.

"It is estimated that about a half-dozen boulders are embedded between 6 and 8 feet into the roadway," CDOT said in a written statement.

"Additionally, two retaining-wall panels along the westbound lanes have been completely knocked out. Other roadway and guardrail damage has also occurred."

Glenwood Springs is about 160 miles west of Denver.

The rock slide came during one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

Americans traveling for Thanksgiving were expected to brave crowds larger than those before the attacks of September 11, 2001, according to a AAA travel club survey. (Full story)

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