I-70 to close at Vail Pass for avalanche mitigation

Interstate 70 at Vail Pass will close at 10 a.m. today for avalanche mitigation.

The Vail area is at a level 3 of 5 on the avalanche danger scale, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

In Summit County and Vail, snow totals from this week’s winter storm ranged from five to 15 inches.

“This new snow fell on top of an already weak snowpack,” a forecast on the Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s website reads. “The snowpack is at a critical tipping point.”

The fresh snow and increasing winds Thursday, up to 50-mph gusts in some areas, will continue to blow snow around and create a slab that could overload weak buried layers of snow.

The Colorado Department of Transportation says these mitigation efforts are meant to reduce the risk of avalanches. Once a highway is closed, crews will bring down the unstable snow from the mountainside and clear snow and debris from the roadway.

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