US 550 Red Mountain Pass Closed

January 23, 2017 - Southwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 5 - Crews Working to Clear and Open Molas/Coalbank Passes before Nightfall

SW COLORADO – The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has closed US Highway (US) 550 Red Mountain Pass from Cascade to Ouray due to adverse weather conditions and avalanche danger. Currently, the closure includes all three mountain passes north of Durango: Red Mountain, Molas and Coal Bank.

RED MOUNTAIN PASS: Red Mountain Pass was closed at approximately 11:00 a.m. today, Monday, Jan. 23. The pass will remain closed until further notice. Severe weather conditions and a natural snow slide prompted the closure between Silverton and Ouray (from mile point (MP) 71 to MP 91.) The snowslide occurred at mile point (MP) 76, approximately five miles north of Silverton. No vehicles or people were involved in the slide.

“This is a safety issue for the traveling public and our CDOT equipment operators,’ said Vance Kelso, CDOT area maintenance supervisor for the north US 550 corridor. “A snowslide came down this morning and covered a section of the road with 2 ft. of snow. We are concerned that additional slides may occur.”

MOLAS/COAL BANK PASSES: At approximately 3:00 p.m. CDOT also implemented a closure for Molas and Coal Bank Passes. Kelso also reported natural slides occurring and hitting the road and added, “We have equipment moving snow and clearing the roadway. It’s our hope we will have the highway south of Silverton open by this evening.”  

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) has issued an Avalanche Warning for the entire San Juan Mountain Range. The CAIC reports that heavy snow and very strong winds have made travel and visibility virtually impossible. The avalanche hazard will remain elevated with additional snow and continued strong winds through Tuesday.

STAY INFORMED: Road and weather conditions are available by dialing 511, 303-639-1111, or visiting Also available on the COtrip site are:

To sign up to receive project information and/or lane closure updates on state highways in the area of your choice, visit CDOT’s website at and choose the envelope icon at the bottom of the page. Or, to see CDOT’s lane closure reports for projects statewide, visit


A CDOT heavy equipment operator pushes snow off the roadway on US 550 Red Mountain Pass earlier this morning before the state agency issued a road closure for the stretch of highway from Silverton to Ouray.