Crews begin scaling rock on CO 145 in Southwest Colorado

4 p.m. May 25, 2019 -

SOUTHWEST COLORADO—Crews have begun rockfall mitigation on the ridgeline 1,000 feet above Colorado Highway 145 in Southwest Colorado. A geo-technical crew conducted a ground and aerial investigation of the steep terrain earlier today and determined rock scaling is needed.

A team has been airlifted to the "brow" of the ridgeline to clean and clear loose rock that has been found on the face of the ridge. Loose and unstable rock will also need to be cleared from the slope of the mountain. (Scaling is the removal of unstable and loose rock to prevent unpredictable rockfall.)

Rock slide
Rock slide

Once the mitigation and scaling work is completed, a crew can begin drilling and blasting the two massive boulders that landed on and near the roadway. The boulder that sits on the highway is estimated to be 48 feet by 18 feet by 18 feet, weighing 2.3 million pounds. The boulder that crossed the highway blew out an eight-foot trench and is estimated to be 50 feet by 50 feet by 26 feet, weighing 8.5 million pounds.

It is not yet known when the scaling of the ridge and slope will be completed. CO 145 is closed indefinitely from Dolores (mile point (MP) 15) to Rico (MP 45). CDOT and law enforcement agencies urge all travelers to avoid the area. Only local residents or business owners are being allowed within the closure. Authorities also strongly discourage anyone from attempting to bypass the closure through private residential roads.

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