A rockfall event occurred along a section of Interstate 70 in CO. A large boulder fell onto the westbound lane, destroying the guardrail, before landing on the eastbound lane below. Subsequent rockslides left large boulders almost entirely blocking the interstate highway and endangering motorists, some coming to rest on a semi-trailer. With the Interstate closed, the estimated 300 travelers per hour were detoured nearly 150 miles around the canyon.
GeoStabilization was contracted to help stabilize the hillside above. The client’s Geohazard Program managers determined that the mass above the roadway was still active and endangering the Interstate below with the threat of additional rock slides. GeoStabilization’s skilled Rockfall Remediation Technicians (RRTs). The RRTs, transported above the interstate by helicopter, worked quickly to remove much of the unstable rock. This allowed the reconstruction and repairs to begin on the damaged highway structure while additional measures continued to stabilize the slope above. IDS deployed a radar monitoring system that allowed the client to be alerted to any destabilization of rocks, both during the stabilization operations and shortly thereafter.
Once the slope was initially scaled to remove any remaining unstable boulders, CDOT was able to progressively reopen the lanes of traffic to the traveling public. Despite snowy conditions, limited road access was restored in less than a week with lanes in both direction opening days after.
Slope failures do not occur spontaneously. There is scientific reasoning for each failure. Real-time site monitoring allows mine operators to plan and implement appropriate proactive actions with sufficient notice to support safer working environments, ongoing operations, engineering, and planning.