WESTMINSTER, Colo. – The large crack along eastbound U.S. 36 in Westminster was likely caused by moist soil beneath the highway and closures are expected to last into the work week, Colorado Department of Transportation officials said Saturday.
The road buckled Friday near Wadsworth Boulevard, forcing crews to shut down the highway as they began repair work. The eastbound lanes of the highway were still closed Saturday afternoon, but the Colorado Department of Transportation was hoping to open one lane on the shoudler of the road later in the day, CDOT said in a news release.
CDOT Chief Engineer Josh Laipply described the problem as a "pretty large slope failure," in which the soil beneath the roadway settled significantly, resulting in the highway to crack. The soil was still settling on Saturday afternoon, making the repair process difficult.
Engineers on Friday night were examining the soil under the highway discovered a void in the base of the road, between 150-200 feet long and about 10 feet wide.
Maintenance crews removed concrete panels from the road for more drilling to "identify both the magnitude and cause of this void," the news release said. Crews on Saturday were drying and stabilizing the soil under the highway. Laipply said crews are drilling along where the slope failed and filling them with concrete to prevent more settlement.
Laipply said CDOT might open an inside shoulder lane on the highway later in the weekend but motorists should not plan to drive on the road if traveling between Boulder and Denver. He recommended that drivers take State Highway 7 or State Highway 93 out of Boulder.