FHWA, CDOT announce Gunnison open house event for US 50 Little Blue Creek Canyon improvement project

News Release

March 15, 2021 - Northwestern Colorado

MONTROSE & GUNNISON COUNTIES – The Federal Highway Administration, the Colorado Department of Transportation and American Civil Constructors, LLC Mountain West (ACC) invite the public to participate in an additional in-person open house on March 24, in Gunnison, to learn more about the US 50 Little Blue Creek Canyon improvement project. The project team will provide information about the upcoming project, travel impacts and detours. Information on all project open houses can be found on www.us50info.com

Open House Events

Virtual open house

  • Date: Tuesday, March 16, 2021

  • Time: 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. via Zoom

  • Online virtual open house registration: www.us50info.com

Montrose in-person open house

  • Date: Tuesday, March 16, 2021

  • Time: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

  • Location: Montrose County Event Center, 1036 N. 7th Street, Montrose, Colorado, 81401

  • Room: Banquet Hall

  • Note: 100 person limit due to COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Gunnison in-person open house 

  • Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2021

  • Time: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. 

  • Location: City of Gunnison Recreation Center, 200 Spencer Avenue, Gunnison, CO 81230 

  • Room: Gymnasium 

  • Note: 100 person limit due to COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Project Information 

Construction on the 4-mile critical improvement project will take place between the communities of Montrose and Gunnison (Mile Points 123-127). The project will take place approximately 30 miles from each community and is anticipated to last two years. Improvements will focus on safety on the important rural highway, including realignment and widening US 50 to two 12-foot travel lanes with two 4-foot wide paved shoulders. This work is essential to improve safety for motorists traveling through Little Blue Creek Canyon, which currently has narrow lanes and sharp turns. Work also includes guardrail replacement, additional rockfall catchment area, new signage, and striping.

Lengthy closures will be required in order to complete the project, as crews must conduct rock blasting and removal. ACC will continue to work in partnership with Federal Highway Administration, Central Federal Lands Highway Division (FHWA-CFLHD), and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to minimize impacts on local communities as much as possible.

The US 50 Little Blue Creek Canyon improvement project is the result of a partnership with FHWA and CDOT. Funding for the $40 million project is provided by a $20 million grant from the Colorado Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP), with CDOT providing the matching $20 million. The project is also in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Grand Mesa Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests, U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the National Park Service (NPS).

US 50 Project Map

Traffic & Recreation Impacts

Travel impacts for motorists will be consistent throughout the project. Roadway closures are anticipated to begin in the spring of 2021, with limited hours to travel the route throughout the day. For much of the roadwork within the project area, motorists should plan for single lane closures, full roadway closures, reduced speed limits, and narrow roads. Significant delays are anticipated. If there is an emergency closure of Interstate 70, full closures on this project will be reduced.

Project & Travel Information

For additional information about this project, contact the project team.

  • Project hotline: 970-340-4333

  • Project email: us50LittleBlue@gmail.com

  • Project webpage: www.us50info.com

  • Project text updates: Text us50 to 21000

  • A text message notifications system is available for this project. Register for alerts by texting us50 to 21000; charges may apply. 

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

Remember:  Slow for the Cone Zone

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'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.