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Colorado avalanche buries 3 cars and shuts down major stretch of highway

Posted at 4:14 AM, Mar 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-08 07:20:50-05

A major stretch of Colorado’s I-70 was shut down Thursday due to safety concerns after a separate avalanche buried three cars.

Everyone in the vehicles buried in the slide was accounted for after search and rescue crews combed the area, CBS Denver reports.

The slide happened on Colorado Highway 91 just after 4 p.m. One of the cars was flipped over and the driver was rescued.

The avalanche on Highway 91 was a natural slide. It covered the road with 15 feet of snow and debris. The field is 300 yards wide. Both directions of Interstate 70 were closed Thursday afternoon from mile marker 195 and Exit 201, Frisco, because of safety concerns from the Highway 91 avalanche.

A look at the avalanche on Colorado Highway 91. COLORADO DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION

This was the latest in a series of avalanches, both natural and human-set, that created another hectic day along the Interstate 70 corridor through Colorado’s high country. Vail Pass was closed on Thursday for several hours as crews cleared 15 feet of snow that came down and covered lanes of traffic.

The first avalanche struck early Thursday near Vail Pass along Interstate 70, catching a tow truck at its outer edge.

The driver was not hurt but another tow truck had to pull his truck from the slide, which left 6 feet of snow on the road, transportation officials said.

(credit: Summit County)

A few hours later another avalanche ruptured a natural gas line to the east near Copper Mountain ski resort. Gas was turned off to the two buildings served by the line — a wastewater treatment plant and a gas station.

Crews had not been able to repair the break because of the ongoing avalanche danger, Xcel Energy spokeswoman Michelle Aguayo said.