US 160/US 550 Continuous Flow Intersection Update

June 9, 2014 - Southwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 5 - Lengthy delays eastbound US 160 this morning subsided as crews shifted lanes, adjusted signal timing. As traffic volumes increase, motorists encouraged to plan extra time if commuting between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

DURANGO – This morning was a rough one for commuters on US 160 eastbound headed into town. With  an uptick in summer traffic, today’s lane closures on the project made for a difficult commute—some experiencing over 45-minute delays on eastbound US 160.

Crews were able to adjust signal timing for the left turn into town, redistributing about seven percent of the 140-second signal cycle to eastbound US 160, without negatively impacting other intersection’s traffic queues. The originally scheduled median work was postponed to later in the project, which allowed crews to shift both eastbound US 160 traffic lanes around the work zone and not keep both lanes closed. The combination of measures reduced delays significantly and quickly cleared the waiting traffic.  Unfortunately, maintaining two eastbound lanes will not be an option every day.

“We will use the center painted median on US 160 to shift traffic when it’s available,” CDOT Project Engineer Tommy Humphrey said. “The adjustments we were able to make today helped; but as summer traffic volumes continue to increase, traffic delays are likely as we continue to complete this project as quickly as possible.”

“While we do need to close the portions of the road we are working on, fortunately we are not reconstructing or repaving the entire road; if we were, the traffic impacts would be even more severe.”

Space for roadway expansion along US 160 and US 50 in Durango is extremely limited by topography and urban development, Humphrey explains. “We need to make our existing roadway facility function as efficiently as possible for all road users, which is what we’re doing with this project.”

Humphrey also noted that the entire US 160/US 550 corridor (from SH 172 to the east all the way to Animas View Drive at the north end of the city) is being retimed this week as it is done routinely every summer—to accommodate summer traffic volumes and distributions.

“I know folks would like to see significantly more green time at the US 160 approach to the US 160/550 intersection—unfortunately we cannot do this without impacting other directions and other signals through town,” Humphrey explains. “The western US 160 leg at this intersection receives only about 55 percent of the volume of the southern or northern legs. If green signal time was significantly re-distributed to the US 160 leg, the other two much busier approaches would quickly begin to stack traffic. That’s the challenge of operating work zones within a congested city center, like this one here in Durango, which also has extremely limited options for alternate routes into town.”

Safety (for both motorists and workers) and the availability of concrete delivery are the primary driving factors for completing the work during the day.

The raised median on US 160, once completed and open, will NOT prevent motorists from turning left onto northbound Roosa. It will offer pedestrian refuge while crossing here, as does the new median at 7th Street.

What has gone away with the raised island, and soon to be raised median, is the left-turn option from southbound Roosa onto eastbound US 160 (or southbound US 160/550).  The limited sight distance for the left turn off of Roosa was causing too many collisions and near misses.

What’s in store for the rest of the week:

  • Roosa Avenue: Full northbound closures, 24/7, from to US 160 to 9thStreet from Monday, June 9, to (likely) Friday, June 13 (PLEASE NOTE:  there will be intermittent northbound closures of Roosa after June 13 for the remainder of the project as well)
  • US 160: Single through lane and left-turn lane closures in both directions from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., weekdays.  Two-lane shifts at any time on weekdays.
  • US 160/550 Intersection: Southbound lane closures at the US 160/550 intersection from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., weekdays
  • College Drive/Camino del Rio Intersection: All directions of travel in this vicinity may see brief travel impacts, but no more than two directions of travel will be impacted at the same time. There will be possible SHORT TERM, intermittent, lane closures on College Drive and US 550, Monday through Thursday during non-peak travel times to finalize signal mast arm sign installation
  • No night or weekend work is expected at this time

HOW TO GET PROJECT AND CFI INFORMATION: The best way to stay up-to-date on project progress, traffic impacts and more is to sign up for email and wireless (text) alerts. Go to CDOT's web site at and click on the green cell phone icon in the upper right hand corner of the page. Enter your information and choose "US 160/550 Durango" under the "projects" list. If you would like to reach the project information team directly, please call us at 970-238-1669 or email us at [email protected]. More information on this and other CFI projects is located here: