Nighttime closures on US 160 begin September 13, east of the CO 151 intersection

Travel Advisory

August 30, 2021 - Southwestern Colorado - The weeklong nightly closures, near Chimney Rock National Monument, will allow for work associated with wildlife crossing project

PAGOSA SPRINGS — U.S. Highway 160 will be fully closed nightly for one week in mid-September. The five nights of closures will begin on Mon., Sept. 13 and continue through Fri., Sept. 17, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. The section of U.S. 160 to be closed is located just east of the CO Highway 151 junction, near Chimney Rock National Monument and Lake Capote (near mile point 127)

The intersection of U.S. 160 and CO 151 will remain open; however, motorists will only be able to travel westbound (toward Bayfield and Durango) during nighttime closure times. Eastbound travel (toward Pagosa Springs) will not be allowed, as the closure area is just east of the intersection. 

During the nighttime closures, motorists seeking eastbound/westbound access on U.S. 160 are advised to arrive at the closure point before 9 p.m. Otherwise, travelers may consider an alternate southern route via U.S. Highways 84, 64 and 550, through NM. A detour at the work zone is not available. Additionally, vehicles are not permitted to stop or wait overnight on U.S. 160 while the highway is closed. 

“Closing U.S. 160 is necessary to set the wildlife overpass structure into place,” said Julie Constan, CDOT Southwest Regional Transportation Director. “Large precast concrete arches will be placed over the roadway. Keeping the traveling public safe during these crane operations is a priority and dictates the need for the closure.”

Wildlife-vehicle collisions make up more than 60 percent of crashes along this stretch of highway. The $11.3 million dollar project is expected to reduce those collisions by at least 80-90 percent, potentially mirroring success rates of other wildlife mitigation projects in Colorado. The project is expected to conclude in late fall.

US 160 Wilflife project detour

US 160 Wildlife Project Detour

Traffic Impacts

Nighttime work: From 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., Monday through Friday, Sept. 13-17 (for five nights) motorists can expect a full shutdown of U.S. 160. Alternate routes via southern NM highways are advised during this timeframe. No detour for passenger or commercial traffic is available. Motorists are not allowed to park and wait along the highway overnight. (The project team has coordinated with area agencies to ensure law enforcement and medical vehicles have emergency access if needed.

Daytime work: Daytime work will not take place during the closure. Daytime construction activity will resume on Mon., Sept. 20, weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. A temporary signal will be in place 24/7, reducing vehicles to a single-lane and alternating traffic intermittently in either direction. Motorists can expect short delays. Speeds are reduced to 30 mph in the work zone. 

Project Milestones

  • More than 3/4 of the wildlife fencing is completed 

  • Paving of the CO 151 and U.S. 160 intersection is completed and a deer guard installed

  • The south side of the underpass is completed, with the north side being set in the next two weeks

  • Paving and widening of the highway is completed from the west end of CO 151 in the eastbound lanes 

Stay Informed on US 160 Wildlife Crossings  

The public is encouraged to sign-up for email updates or access information through the following resources: 

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts, anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:

About CDOT

CDOT’s Whole System-Whole Safety program has one simple mission — to get everyone home safely. Our approximately 3,000 employees work tirelessly to reduce the rate and severity of crashes and improve the safety of all modes of transportation. The department manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway, more than 3,000 bridges and 35 mountain passes. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also operates Bustang, the state-owned interregional express bus service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.