Crew makes headway on damaged highway

July 1, 2019 - Southwestern Colorado - Work will halt on July 4th and through the weekend 

 CO 145 7-3-19.jpg 


CDOT PHOTO: Reconstruction work continues on CO 145 in southwest Colorado, at the site of a major rock fall which destroyed a section of the highway. 

SOUTHWEST COLORADO ― The Colorado Department of Transportation and contractor, Williams Construction of Norwood, CO, continue efforts to re-build a section of a rock slide-damaged highway in southwest Colorado. While work will be halted during the upcoming July 4th holiday and over the upcoming weekend, travelers will still experience brief delays with continued one-lane alternating traffic controlled by a portable light signal. Drivers are advised to “creep” their vehicles as close as possible to the “STOP HERE” sign in order for the sensor to be triggered and provide a green light as soon as it is safely able. Even when crews are not working, drivers are not permitted to stop in the work zone area. 

The reconstruction work will resume on Monday, July 8. The contractor anticipates that the highway will be opened to two-way traffic by mid-July, with work continuing for additional weeks.


CO 145 will not be re-routed or re-aligned. The highway will maintain its original alignment. The estimated cost of the initial emergency response, blasting, temporary repairs and the permanent reconstruction is estimated at $1.3 million. 

The re-construction includes: 

  • Widening of the road surface to allow for additional shoulder space 

  • New guardrail installed on the east side of the highway to ensure the safety and protection of passing vehicles from one the massive boulders that remains on the side of the road

  • An embankment built on the west side (slope side) of the highway to catch any future potential mud or rock slides from reaching the highway

  • Relocation of a utility fiber optic line


Portable stop lights will continue controlling vehicle movement, both northbound and southbound, through a one-lane, alternating traffic configuration. The lights will control traffic 24-7, day and night. Now that construction work has started, travelers are advised that they may encounter periodic lengthy delays of up to one hour. These lengthy traffic stops will be implemented only between the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. An 11-ft width restriction is in place. Work hours will be Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with occasional work on Saturdays if necessary.

For the safety of the construction crews and the traveling public: 

  • Watch for workers, flaggers and equipment 

  • No stopping of vehicles in the work zone area 

  • No walking in the work zone area 

  • No walking to the Memorial Rock (a majority of the rock is on private property ― no trespassing!)

  • Traffic light signals are automatically timed, so it is imperative that all vehicles get through the work zone before the light changes 


On Friday, May 24, two house-sized boulders tumbled and plowed down the hillside from a ridge 1000 feet above CO 145 destroying a section of road. There were no injuries. One rock landed directly on the highway. It was blasted and the rubble moved. The second rock rolled through both lanes, creating a 10- to 15-foot trench, and coming to rest on the opposite side of the highway. It will remain where it landed. 


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:


To heighten safety awareness, CDOT recently announced its Whole System ― Whole Safety. initiative. This campaign takes a systematic statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address driving behavior, 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 safety conditions for those traveling by 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, and 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.