Crews to Install New Rock Fence on US 550 Red Mountain Pass

Sept. 25, 2018 - Estimated Month-Long Work Addresses Summer Flood Damage, Rockfalls

SOUTHWEST COLORADO—Starting Monday, Oct. 1, travelers can expect intermittent closures on US Highway 550 (Red Mountain Pass) just south of Ouray as crews begin repairing netting and fencing on the Ruby Wall's cliff face. This work—the final stage of ongoing repairs—addresses damage caused by severe flooding, mud flows and rockfall this summer.

The Colorado Transportation Commission has approved emergency contingent funds to complete this needed work, which includes the following:

  • Crews will repair the draped netting that hangs on the face of the cliff wall. The netting—which traps falling rock—will also be tied down with additional new anchors drilled into the cliff wall.

  • Crews will also construct a new, taller catchment fence and install it below an older, existing one. This will require drilling of post anchors, installing steel beam posts and additional rock netting. No rock scaling work is expected, except for minor clearing of loose rock for post and anchor installation. (Rock scaling is the removal of loose rock material, which may present a rockfall hazard on the highway.)

The new supplemental netting and fencing will increase the capacity for debris, which falls from the cliff walls and may present a rockfall hazard on the highway.

Travel Impacts

Most Work Days:

  • From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, travelers can expect periodic highway closures and approximate 20-minute delays while crews work on the cliff walls.
  • Flaggers will control traffic, using an alternating one-way configuration.
  • The road will return to regular two-way traffic every evening, until construction resumes the following morning.

Periodic Lengthy Closures:

  • Longer closures may occur during critical stages, including delivery of materials and equipment to the site by helicopter.
    • The highway will be closed to traffic for up to four hours in the mornings and four hours in the afternoons.
    • Travelers will have a one-hour window of opportunity—from noon to 1 p.m.—to travel through the work zone.
    • The road will return to regular two-way traffic every evening, until construction resumes the following morning.

CDOT will notify the public of closures via, social media, electronic road signs and local media.


This project's targeted completion date is Nov. 1, with a goal to finish the work before significant snow begins to fall. As a result, inclement weather may impact the duration of the project.

Project Info

In mid-August, crews completed emergency repair work to the damaged road surface of US 550, as well as repairs to a damaged crib wall, which provides support and stabilization of the road surface. Minor scaling operations were also completed.

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