US 24 Sinkhole Update

July 10, 2012 - Northwest Colorado/CDOT Region 3 - The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has one lane of US 24 open to traffic north of Leadville at mile marker 165 south of Red Cliff.

At this time, CDOT flaggers are present to direct traffic one direction at a time, as northbound and southbound motorists must take turns traveling through the closure area. This evening, a portable traffic signal will be in place to direct motorists for the foreseeable future.

Even though the sinkhole has been marked and barricaded from the highway, motorists are urged to slow down when driving through the area and to drive with extra caution. No commercial trucks, oversized loads, or overweight loads are allowed through the sinkhole area and are advised to use State Highway 91 as an alternative route.

After thorough examinations of the sinkhole yesterday involving a variety of engineers, maintenance supervisors, and geological experts, it was determined that the sinkhole is actually a century-old railroad tunnel that collapsed decades ago. The depth of the hole is currently estimated to be about 100 feet, and since the depths reach so far into the earth, much of the soil was still frozen until very recently. When the soil thawed, the hole was exposed.