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Southwest Colorado CO 145 Rock Slide: Reconstruction of Destroyed Highway Completed

CDOT PHOTO: A section of CO Highway 145 between Dolores and Rico has been rebuilt. The roadway was destroyed after two massive boulders plowed down the adjacent mountain side from a ridgeline 1000 feet above the highway.

SOUTHWEST COLORADO ― Reconstruction of a destroyed section of highway is completed in southwest Colorado. The emergency reconstruction work that started in mid-June cost $1.12 million and was completed within the scheduled nine-week time frame. The total cost included the initial emergency response, blasting of rock, temporary repairs and the permanent reconstruction of approximately 300 feet of highway. 

Contractor, GeoStabilization International of Denver, CO, performed boulder blasting, rock downsizing and removed additional loose rock and debris from the slope. Contractor, Williams Construction of Norwood, CO, was hired to rebuild and reconstruct the highway.

CO 145 was not re-routed nor re-aligned. The highway maintained its original alignment. The reconstruction included: 

  • Widening of the road surface (by four feet) to allow for additional shoulder space 
  • Installation of new guardrail 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
  • Construction of an embankment on the west side (slope-side) of the highway to catch any future potential mud or rock slides from reaching the highway
  • Relocation of an existing utility fiber optic line

CO 145 was not re-routed nor re-aligned. The highway maintained its original alignment.

CDOT PHOTO: CO 145 was not re-routed nor re-aligned. The highway maintained its original alignment.

ROCK SLIDE BACKGROUND

On Friday, May 24, of Memorial Day weekend 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. Estimated at 1140 tons, the rock was blasted and the rubble removed from the roadway.

CDOT geo-technical personnel believe a large outcropping from the ridgeline above the highway broke into two large pieces as it rolled down the slope to CO 145.

CDOT PHOTO: CDOT geo-technical personnel believe a large outcropping from the ridgeline above the highway broke into two large pieces as it rolled down the slope to CO 145. One boulder landed directly on the highway, the other plowed through creating a 10- to 15- foot trench. 

A crew successfully blasted one of the two massive boulders that destroyed a section of Colorado Highway 145 between Cortez and Telluride.

CDOT PHOTO: A crew successfully blasted one of the two massive boulders that destroyed a section of Colorado Highway 145 between Cortez and Telluride. Rubble from the blast was used to construct an embankment on the west side (slope-side) of the highway to catch any future potential mud or rock slides from reaching the highway.

The second, larger rock (called “Memorial Rock” by Colorado Governor, Jared Polis) weighed approximately 4400 tons. It rolled through both lanes, creating a 10- to 15-foot trench, and coming to rest on the opposite side of the highway. It remains where it landed. 

One of two boulders landed directly on the highway, the other (shown above) plowed through creating a 10- to 15- foot trench.

CDOT PHOTO: One of two boulders landed directly on the highway, the other (shown above) plowed through creating a 10- to 15- foot trench. This boulder remains where it landed on the east side of the highway.


WHOLE SYSTEM. WHOLE SAFETY. 

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.

 

ABOUT CDOT 

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 intermodal mobility options.

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