CDOT begins safety-improvement project to construct two passing lanes on US 160/491 north of Towaoc

May 7, 2019 - Southwestern/South Central Colorado

MONTEZUMA COUNTY ― The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and contractor Oldcastle SW Group of Cortez mobilized operations this week to begin construction of passing lanes, shoulder improvements, vehicle turnouts and access improvements son US 160/491 north of Towaoc. Specifically, the project will make these safety improvements, underlining CDOT’s safety awareness to its Whole System, Whole Safety initiative:

  • Construction of alternating passing lanes (approximately one mile in each direction) between mile point (MP) 27.75 and MP 29.75

  • Realignment of CR A and CR B to create T junctions with US 160/491 for improved sight distance

  • Closure of CR 21, which lies between A and B, to eliminate access conflicts along this stretch

  • Installation of a waterline and slip-lining an existing wooden drainage structure under the highway

  • Installation of new guardrail and guardrail end sections

  • New fencing, seeding and striping

In March 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe a $2 million TIGER grant to help pay for the $11.2 million project.

A groundbreaking event was held near the project site on April 25. CDOT officials were joined by tribal leaders, Federal Highway Administration representatives and Oldcastle SW Group to commemorate the beginning of the project.

TRAVEL IMPACTS: Through the project’s completion in late December, 2019, motorists can single-lane, alternating travel where work zones exist, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (during the summer months), Monday through Friday. Motorists are urged to drive with care through construction zones and watch for workers and equipment. Please avoid distractions when traveling through the work areas and go “Slow for the Cone Zone!”

PROJECT INFORMATION: Those with questions or comments may call the project information line at (970) 560-1211 or write to The project web site is

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.

The following tips are to help you stay safe while traveling through maintenance and construction work zones.

  • Do not speed in work zones; obey the posted speed limits.

  • Stay Alert! Expect the unexpected.

  • Watch for workers; drive with caution.

  • Don't change lanes unnecessarily.

  • Avoid using mobile devices such as phones while driving in work zones.

  • Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you.

  • Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones.

  • Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.

  • Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.

  • Anticipate lane shifts, and merge when directed to do so.

  • Be Patient!

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 inter-modal mobility options.