Periodic closures set for U.S. Highway 50 Monarch Pass on Friday

August 27, 2019 - Southwestern Colorado - Helicopter to facilitate equipment installation on Friday, August 30

CHAFFEE COUNTY — On Friday, August 30, the Colorado Department of Transportation will facilitate helicopter operations for the installation of new avalanche control equipment above U.S. Highway 50 Monarch Pass, about 15 miles east of Poncha Springs. This one-day operation will require periodic full eastbound and westbound lane closures on U.S. 50 just north of the Monarch Ski Area, between mile points 201 and 202. Delays may last as long as an hour. Motorists are urged to allow themselves extra travel time if driving the U.S. 50 route.


After Friday’s helicopter operations are completed, the project will resume its regular work schedule, with minimal impacts to traffic. 

  • Regular work hours are Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. No weekend work is anticipated.

  • Intermittent closures can be expected throughout the project when crews are moving equipment or working slope-side near the highway. Any delays should be for no more than 20 minutes. Otherwise traffic will be let through as normal.

  • Work is expected to end in October 2019, weather dependent.


As part of CDOT’s Whole System. Whole Safety. initiative, this new remote avalanche control system will ensure a safer avalanche mitigation program for CDOT and the public. The U.S. 50 avalanche control project includes installing a control shelter, which will house equipment needed for the operation of the remote avalanche control system near the Monarch Ski Area. The new system will provide more efficient avalanche control, making the area safer for the traveling public. This remote system is also more reliable and safer for personnel to operate.

Midwest Rockfall, Inc. of Henderson, CO is the prime contractor on this $366,000 project.


For additional information about this project: 

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Call the local project information hotline at 970.373.1584

Visit the project website: 


Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts and anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:


Earlier this year, CDOT announced its Whole System — Whole Safety initiative to heighten safety awareness. The initiative takes a systematic, statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address driving behaviors, our built environment and the organization's operations. The goal is to improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving the safety of all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission—to get everyone home safely.


CDOT has approximately 3,000 employees located throughout Colorado, and manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway and 3,429 bridges. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of other agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also administers Bustang, the state-owned and operated inter-regional express service. Governor Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s inter-modal mobility options.