CDOT Begins Improvements to US 491, NM State Line to Towaoc

July 24, 2014 - Southwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 5 - One lane of travel open in each direction during work hours

MONTEZUMA COUNTY – The Colorado Department of Transportation begins a project on July 14 to rehabilitate and make safety improvements to US 491 (and US 160) between the New Mexico state line and Towaoc. Skanska was awarded a $13.7 million contract to complete the construction (funded, in part, through RAMP*). Work will continue into the fall, be suspended for the winter months, and be completed in August 2015.

“The work will provide a very specific remedy to each section of highway depending on its current condition,” CDOT Resident Engineer Mike Coggins said. “This is a good example of our Asset Management program; for our roadway assets this essentially means designing projects that provide the most bang for our buck while preserving the life cycle of the highway and avoiding a costlier reconstruction.”

The project will make the following improvements:

  • On US 491 from MP 0 to 6.4 (MP 6.4 is also US 160 MP 18.3), the roadway surface will receive a “leveling course” of asphalt to smooth the existing surface, and will then be resurfaced with asphalt.
  • On US 160/US 491 from (US 160) MP 18.3 to MP 21, and MP 23 to 26, the highway will receive a full-depth reclamation, which takes the highway down to a dirt surface and rebuilds with several inches of new asphalt. (There will be no work between MP 21 and 23, as passing lanes and new asphalt were placed here in 2009).
  • From US 160/US 491 MP 26 to 27.5 (at Towaoc, about a mile north of Mike Wash Road), the project will provide a “mill and fill” as a resurfacing measure—this stretch was resurfaced more recently and does not require the full overlay process.
  • Finally, the project will include lighting at the US 160/US 491 junction, as well as guardrail upgrades.

TRAVEL IMPACTS: During construction periods (through late fall 2014, then spring through summer 2015), motorists will encounter some single-lane, alternating traffic and speed reductions from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. There will be occasional single-lane closures at night and on weekends for bridge work and some deep pipe excavations.

CDOT PROJECT INFORMATION: For questions and comments, the public may call the project information line at (970) 565-2055. To stay up-to-date on CDOT projects in your area, or statewide, 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. Or, travelers can view lane closures, road work alerts and travel alerts on

*This project will receive funding from RAMP, Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships. RAMP is better coordinating project expenditures and available funding. Under the RAMP program, CDOT will fund multi-year projects based on year of expenditure, rather than saving for the full amount of a project before construction begins. For more information, including a list of RAMP project requests, please see our website: