FHWA, CDOT announce March open house events for US 50 Little Blue Creek Canyon improvements

News Release

March 4, 2021 Northwestern Colorado - Critical roadway project kicks off this spring

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 two open house events on Tuesday, March 16, to learn more about the US 50 Little Blue Creek Canyon improvement project. The events include an in-person open house in Montrose and a virtual open house. The project team will provide information at both events about the upcoming project, travel impacts and detours. 

"If you are unable to attend the open house meetings, please reach out anytime via phone, email, or text. The information team is happy to answer your questions so that you can plan ahead," said Kathleen Wanatowicz, Public Information Manager for ACC. Please see below for a map of the project location.

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   

 In-person open house 

  • Date: Tuesday, March 16, 2021

  • Time: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. 

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

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

Project Info

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 U.S. 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 closely with FHWA and 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 the 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).
Map of project area between Gunnison and Montrose

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 road work 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!