CDOT’s Rockfall Mitigation Project on SH 3 Progressing Well Following Rain

October 2, 2014 - Southwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 5 - Drilling and rock anchoring work has begun.

DURANGO, CO – Colorado Department of Transportation contractor TK Construction has now completed all planned rock scaling operations on SH 3. Although the project started off ahead of schedule, summer rain storms slowed scaling operations back to the anticipated pace. Overall, the project is still on schedule. If all continues smoothly, SH 3 will reopen to traffic by November 18.

Currently, crews are hauling off rock debris and getting ready to install anchors and posts to support the rockfall netting. Over the next few weeks, crews will use two different types of drill apparatus along the south end of SH 3. “Wagon” drills, which are anchored from above, will be used by climbers while they are secured on the wall. One crane-mounted drill will assist from the road below.

At the north end of the project, crews will install a different rockfall protection method. The attenuator system utilizes longer posts in a roughly vertical configuration. Regardless of the method, the mesh netting is the same.

SPECIAL NOTE TO TRAIL USERS:  CDOT would like to remind trail users that the single-track path located between the east side of the river and SH 3, between Sawmill Road and the Carbon Junction Trailhead, is closed. This trail is directly below the active rockfall mitigation zone. For the hiking and biking safety, trail users should obey all signs and restrictions. The Animas River Trail system on the west side of the river is the recommended alternative. The short section of single track connecting the Animas River Trail pedestrian bridge just north the junction of US160/550 back to SH 3 is open for those wishing to connect with the Carbon Junction Trailhead.

Travel Impacts for Motorists & Cyclists:  Beginning Thursday, August 21, 2014, through November 18, 2014, the project will require a full road closure on the south end of SH 3. During the full closure, the alternate route will be US 160/US 550. (Please note: access to the Rivergate businesses, medical offices and residences will still be available from the north, via Santa Rita Drive or 8th Avenue.) The Carbon Junction Trailhead, which provides access to the Telegraph Trail System, will be open during construction; however, parking will not be available at this location. Parking is available at the Big Canyon Trailhead further south and a temporary roadside path will be available between the two trailheads.

Project Background:  On Thursday, August 21, 2014, the Colorado Department of Transportation began a rockfall mitigation project on State Highway (SH) 3 in Durango and La Plata County. The approximately .7-mile project work zone lies between the junction with US 160/550 and Sawmill Road (south). This project will reduce the risk of rockfall in this area, as well as provide measures to capture some material in the event of rockfall. The work is anticipated to be complete in November 2014, with a possibility for some continued work in spring 2015. The full project—contracted to TK Construction for $1.56 million*—also includes rockfall mitigation (to begin in early 2015) on SH 145 just south of Telluride.

Questions? Comments?  The best way to stay up to date on project progress and impacts 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 “SH 3 Durango Rockfall” under the “Projects” list. The public may also call the project information line at (970) 759-1030 or write to [email protected].

*This safety project is receiving 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:

Contractor crews drilling with crane support (to see the “wagon” drill go to CDOT’s Facebook page).