Dry Conditions in Southwest Colorado Prompt Halt in Road Work

Drivers asked to observe safe practices along roadsides

Crews in CDOT's Durango-based maintenance office will suspend roadside maintenance activities on several US and state highways in the Four Corners region to minimize the potential for grass fires, in light of dry weather conditions and two separate county fire bans.

Roadside maintenance operations will be limited on:

  • US 160, from the Four Corners Monument to Pagosa Springs
  • US 491, CO 141, CO 90 and CO 97―along the western edge of the state in Montezuma, Dolores, San Miguel and Montrose Counties
    Montezuma County has issued a fire ban effective Saturday, July 1.
  • South US 550 (from Durango to NM), CO 140, CO 172 and CO 151
    These highways lead from US 160 to the New Mexico state line within La Plata County. La Plata County has also issued a fire ban effective Wednesday, June 28.

"We will be limiting our operations as best we can, barring any emergencies," said John Palmer, CDOT deputy superintendent of maintenance. "We are aware of the high temperatures reached with our vehicle and equipment engines. We want to play it safe and avoid any fire hazard that could be caused from mowing, or other activities that we perform on the roadside. With fire bans in Montezuma and La Plata counties, we will not be doing any mowing operations or work off the roadway with equipment unless it is in an emergency, such as a vehicle crash."

Palmer continued by describing a grass fire that ensued just this week on Monday, June 26.

"A grass fire was triggered on US 491 south of the Dove Creek community Monday night after a vehicle hit a deer," explained Palmer. "The driver pulled off the roadway, and that's when the fire started. The fire was contained, but it gives very good indication of the conditions we have right now with vegetation being so dry."

Safety Tips

  • Be very careful while driving throughout the region and state.
  • If at all possible, choose a graveled or dirt area to pull off the road to park your vehicle.
  • Avoid driving over or parking on top of dried grass and vegetation.
  • Do not drag chains attached to vehicles or trailers.
  • Never throw cigarettes out a vehicle window.

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