CO 145 open to alternating traffic following rock slide

2 p.m. May 27, 2019 -

Colorado Highway 145 between Cortez and Telluride is now open to one-lane alternating traffic. The Southwest Colorado highway was closed since Friday afternoon, after a rock slide hit and destroyed a section of the roadway, about 12 miles north of Dolores.

Drivers traveling in both directions of the highway will encounter portable stoplight signals controlling traffic flow at the rock slide site. For safety, there is no stopping or standing allowed at any time through the rock fall area. The traffic light signals are automatically timed, so it is imperative that all vehicles get across the temporary road before the light changes. The temporary road has been constructed of dirt so, travelers are advised to slow down and use extreme caution through the area.

CO 145 Temporary Lane

Although the road is open to this restrictive travel, a construction crew will begin work tomorrow (Tuesday, May 28) to rebuild the section of damaged highway. Motorists will therefore experience periodic and lengthy delays of up to a full hour while the road is being re-constructed. CDOT officials estimate the emergency reconstruction project will take one to two weeks to complete.

Yesterday a crew successfully blasted one of the massive boulders that tumbled and plowed its way to the two-lane highway from a ridgeline some 1000 feet above. The rock was shattered and broken up into small chunks and fragments in order to be removed from the roadway. The estimated size of the enormous rock was 2.5-million-pound rock (or 1150 tons).  

The second and larger house-sized boulder estimated at 8.5 million pounds (or 4400 tons), created an eight-foot trench across both lanes and landed on the east side of the road away from the highway. CDOT officials say the rock may end up remaining where it sits. 

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