Rockfall Work Continutes on US 550 South of Ouray

January 17, 2014 - Southwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 5 - Red Mountain Pass to remain closed into next week, a reopen date is undetermined at this time.

OURAY COUNTY – On the second full day of work to bring down loose rock from high above US 550 on Red Mountain Pass, rockfall crews still have quite a bit of work to do. Crews rappelling down from 900 feet above the roadway loosened a good deal of rock from the steep rock face; however, they will need to reach the talus slope (the leveled section below the steep face) where the majority of the loose rock lies (see photo diagram).

“It’s challenging work, not only for the rock climbers but for the helicopter pilot,” said Greg Stacy, incident commander and CDOT’s Region 5 deputy maintenance superintendent. “We will work through the three –day weekend and into next week and see what we can accomplish—our goal is to reduce the risk of more rock coming off that slope.”

CDOT has no estimate for a highway reopen date at this time; more will be known early next week.

“We are doing everything we can to address this safety issue as quickly as possible,” CDOT Region 5 Transportation Director Kerrie Neet said. “I want to emphasize our appreciation for everyone’s patience during this work, particularly folks living or doing business in Silverton and Ouray—closing US 550 is never easy for these communities.”

The rockfall site is at MM 90, two miles south of Ouray. The actual closure points are at MM 92 just south of Ouray and at MM 87 at Ironton Park (about 17 miles north of Silverton).

“We want anyone who may attempt to walk to the site to know that the area is fully closed and is a safety risk,” Stacy said.

ALTERNATE ROUTE:  From Ouray to Durango (a distance of 70 miles using US 550) motorists will instead use SH 62 from Ridgway over Dallas Divide, SH 145 over Lizard Head Pass, then US 160, for a trip of about 154 miles.

For information on other CDOT projects, the public may call 511 or log onto CDOT’s traveler information web site at Better yet, sign up to receive email and/or text messages by going to CDOT’s web site at and choosing the green phone icon in the upper right corner.