Lengthy Closures set for Oct. 31 on US 550 Red Mountain Pass

Oct. 29, 2018 - Helicopter to Transport Supplies to Cliff Face

US 550 Helicopter Operations

SOUTHWEST COLORADO—On Wednesday, Oct. 31, crews will close US Highway 550 Red Mountain Pass for extended periods as they transport materials via helicopter to repair netting and fencing on the Ruby Walls' cliff face—about three miles south of Ouray.

These closures also will allow crews to cut trees likely to fall onto the roadway or onto electrical utility lines.

Travel Impacts

  • Expect one daytime and one afternoon four-hour closure of US 550 Red Mountain Pass in both directions.
  • Motorists will have a one-hour window of opportunity at noon to travel through the work zone.

8 a.m. - noon

Noon - 1 p.m.

Closed: 1 - 5 p.m.

  • Southbound traffic will be stopped just south of Ouray, at the "Switzerland of America" overlook. The public CANNOT access the Bear Creek scenic overlook.
  • Northbound traffic will be stopped at Ironton. Roads and trails south of Ironton, including Engineer Pass, CANNOT be accessed.
  • NOTE: Should inclement weather hinder operations on Wednesday, the helicopter operations and closures will be pushed to the next favorable day.
  • From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. other days through the week, motorists may encounter closures of up to 20 minutes while crews work on the cliff walls. Motorists should watch for flaggers and be prepared for traffic stops. The road will return to regular two-way traffic every evening, until construction resumes the following morning.

Project Info

Crews are repairing the draped netting that hangs on the face of the cliff wall, which traps falling rocks. Additionally, new supplemental netting and fencing are being installed to increase the capacity for debris and prevents rocks from falling onto the highway.

The targeted completion date is now mid-November 2018, with a goal to finish the work before significant snowfall. As a result, inclement weather may impact the duration of the project.