Poll confirms effects of I-70 closure

Diane Schwenke

Companies face difficulties in shipping in and out supplies as well as a decrease in business related to the closure of Interstate Highway 70 through the Glenwood Canyon, the results of a poll indicate.

“There is no question that our businesses are being affected by yet another issue that is totally outside of their control,” said Diane Schwenke, president and chief executive officer of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce. “I am, however, encouraged by the ingenuity and flexibility of our business community as they find ways to cope.”

The chamber polled its members to assess the effects of the extended closure of the highway and how they’ve responded.

Of the 211 who responded, 44 percent indicated they’re experiencing difficulty getting supplies in and 14 percent difficulty in shipping products out. Meanwhile,
20 percent of respondents reported a decrease in business. Another 25 percent indicated they’d experienced no effects.

Some businesses reported they were having difficulty getting employees to job sites on the east side of the Glenwood Canyon. Hotels reported reservation cancellations.

Respondents also reported they were finding ways to respond to the closure. Some indicated they were flying employees to Denver, while others placed larger orders for products. 

Asked about what keeps them up at night, 52 percent of respondents said they’re worried a surge in the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to business closures, while 44 percent cited concerns over inflation, 41.5 percent disruptions in the supply chain and 41 percent additional government regulations and mandates.