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The Latest: Major Colorado highway reopens after avalanche

March 8, 2019
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A hazmat truck waits before the Eisenhower Tunnel on Interstate 70 during snowstorm, Thursday, March 7, 2019, at Loveland Pass, Colo. Historic avalanche danger caused havoc in the Colorado mountains Thursday, shutting down portions of two highways and prompting a rare warning for drivers to avoid a route leading to some of the state's busiest ski resorts.(Hugh Carey/Summit Daily News via AP)

DENVER (AP) — The Latest on Colorado avalanches (all times local):

7:10 p.m.

A major east-west highway through the Colorado mountains has reopened after an avalanche.

Cars and trucks were allowed back onto Interstate 70 between Vail and the Copper Mountain ski resort Thursday night hours after the slide left up to 6 feet (2 meters) of snow on the highway near Vail Pass.

A tow truck was caught near the edge of the avalanche but the driver wasn’t hurt.

Two other major avalanches struck the mountains Thursday, both near the Copper Mountain resort. One buried at least three vehicles but authorities said no one was hurt. The other ruptured a natural gas line, cutting off gas to a wastewater treatment plant and a gas station.

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5:25 p.m.

Another big avalanche has closed a Colorado highway and buried three vehicles, but the State Patrol says no one was hurt.

The agency says the slide covered state Highway 91 about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) south of the Copper Mountain ski area Thursday.

It was at least the third major slide of the day and came after the Colorado Avalanche Information Center warned that avalanche danger was extreme, the highest rating.

The center said heavy March snow combined with strong winds created some of the most dangerous conditions in years.

Officials in Colorado say heavy snowfall and high winds have created some of the most dangerous avalanche conditions in years. The avalanche danger has prompted warnings to motorists traveling through high risk areas. (March 7)
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Another slide near Copper Mountain earlier Thursday ruptured a natural gas line, cutting off gas to a wastewater treatment plant and a gas station.

A slide on Interstate 70 near Vail Pass left 6 feet (2 meters) of snow on the highway, engulfing a tow truck and closing a vital east-west highway. The driver wasn’t hurt.

The Arapahoe Basin ski area said it would delay its opening Friday because of avalanche danger. No opening time was announced.

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7:40 a.m.

Avalanches are causing more travel problems in Colorado’s mountains.

Firefighters say an avalanche at around 5 a.m. Thursday near Copper Mountain ruptured a natural gas pipeline. Nearby highways, including a stretch of nearby Interstate 70, the state’s busy east-west highway, was shut down as a precaution as crews work to shut off the gas.

Meanwhile, a tow truck was caught in an avalanche just after midnight on I-70 at Vail Pass. The Colorado State Patrol said he was doing OK.

The highway is closed there until road crews can trigger controlled avalanches to bring down more snow during the day.