Colorado mountain regions impacted by devastating wildfires in 2020 are now grappling with a new disaster: massive mudslides. With a lack of vegetation to absorb moisture, wildfire burn scars are particularly susceptible to mudslides triggered by heavy rain. Interstate 70 in Colorado’s Glenwood Canyon has experienced multiple closures due to mudslides overtaking the roadway, including a nearly 50-mile stretch that remains closed indefinitely. CU Boulder experts are available to discuss various impacts of the mudslides on Colorado roadways, the supply chain, businesses and the economy.
On supply chain disruption: I-70 is a busy corridor utilized to move goods through the Rocky Mountains and to mountain towns in the area. Gregg Macaluso, professor of supply chain management, teaches supply chain management at the graduate level and can speak to how the closure impacts the movement of goods and services through Glenwood Canyon.
On structural repairs and infrastructure: Chris Senseney, a civil, and environmental and architectural engineering instructor, directs the Kiewit Design-Build Program at CU Boulder. He can discuss the structural repairs needed for the roadway, the challenges crews face with a narrow and volatile construction area and the impacts to roadways in rural communities now experiencing higher-than-normal truck traffic.
On entrepreneurial impacts: Erick Mueller, executive director of the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the Leeds School of Business, studies entrepreneurship and founded the Demystifying Entrepreneurship: Rural Colorado Workshop Series to help startups and small businesses thrive in their ventures. He can share a perspective on entrepreneurship & innovation and how businesses in the more rural areas that thrive off of I-70 traffic may be affected by the closure.
On economic impacts: Brian Lewandowski, executive director of the Business Research Division at the Leeds School of Business, and Richard Wobbekind, BRD senior economist and faculty director, can speak generally to the economic impacts of a the loss of tourism, traffic and trucking along I-70, as well as how the closure could impact the gain of tourism and traffic for mountain communities that do not require access via I-70.