News

Red Mountain Pass Open for Upcoming 4-day Holiday Travel

May 16, 2014 - Southwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 5 - Pass fully open, with single-lane alternating traffic, from Thursday, May 22 at 6:30 p.m. through Tuesday, May 27 at 8:30 a.m.

OURAY/SAN JUAN COUNTIES – While the Million Dollar Highway has remained passable at scheduled times during the current rockfall work, travel during the extended Memorial Day holiday weekend (Friday through Monday) will be completely unhindered by schedule.

US 550 over Red Mountain Pass will be fully open to single-lane, alternating traffic from Thursday, May 22, at 6:30 p.m. through Tuesday morning, May 27, at 8:30 a.m.

Starting at 8:30 a.m. on May 27, the work schedule (see below) will begin again until the project is completed—this is expected to be on or before June 13.

The Colorado Department of Transportation and contractor Midwest Rockfall will conduct the following activities over the remainder of this project:

  • An additional 2,000 SF of wire mesh is now being placed (via helicopter) north of the current mesh to help contain remaining loose rock;

  • Midwest crews will install a rockfall fence at mid-slope, below the wire mesh; the fence materials will be painted a dark brown or similar in order to blend into the hillside, as approved by the US Forest Service;

  • Crews will remove the fence on the roadway after the installation of the mid-slope fence is installed, enabling two-way travel;

  • The roadway damage will be patched prior to opening the roadway back to two lanes.

“The third final phase of rockfall mitigation is not fully determined at this time, but it will include further roadway repairs,” CDOT Region 5 Program Engineer Ed Archuleta said. “The performance of the mid-slope fence will help us determine the scope of our final project, and we expect that work to be underway in late summer into early fall.”

WHEN IS THE PASS OPEN FOR TRAVEL?  The pass is open during the four-day holiday period from 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 22, through Tuesday, May 27 at 8:30 a.m. Prior to and following this four-day Memorial Day holiday work suspension, Red Mountain Pass is open at the following times:  before 8:30 a.m.; between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m., and after 6:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday; and open all day on Sundays.

VISIT OURAY & SILVERTON! HERE’S HOW TO PLAN YOUR TRIP:  If your trip plans outside the Memorial Day holiday weekend do not fit within the pass opening times detailed above, here are some options. 1) Plan to spend some time on either side of the pass as you await the pass opening—enjoy a meal, a walk around town, visit the museums, hot springs, train station, parks, etc.; 2) Should you need to take the alternate route, plan for a 90-mile detour using SH 62 over beautiful Dallas Divide to the north, or SH 145 over the equally stunning Lizard Head Pass to the south. This entire loop lies on Colorado’s Scenic and Historic San Juan Skyway, also an “All American Road.” (Durango to Ouray along US 550 is about a 70-mile journey while Durango to Ouray along the alternate route is 160 miles.)

There’s plenty to do and see in the historic mining towns of Ouray and Silverton, and you don’t want to miss a trip through this area during Memorial Day weekend, especially if that trip involves the annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic from Durango to Silverton.

Learn more on these sites:

Silverton Activities and Information: silvertoncolorado.com/

Ouray Activities and Information:  www.ouraycolorado.com

San Juan Skyway:  www.coloradodot.info/travel/scenic-byways/southwest/san-juan-skyway

Iron Horse Bicycle Classic Information:  www.ironhorse.com

PLAN OTHER TRIPS THROUGH COLORADO - To receive real-time updates about state highway road conditions in your area, visit www.coloradodot.info and click on the green cell phone icon in the upper right hand corner of the page. Information about weekly lane closures will be available at www.coloradodot.info/travel/scheduled-lane-closures.html. Live road conditions are available at www.cotrip.org, by downloading the CDOT Mobile app or by calling 511 from anywhere in the state. Updates are also available via Twitter @coloradodot and be sure to “Like” our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/coloradodot.

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