US 50 Monarch Pass to undergo emergency truck ramp closure

Travel Advisory

August 31, 2022 - South-Central Colorado - CDOT to perform repairs on eastbound runaway truck ramp September through October
Runaway truck ramp located east of Monarch Pass summit
The runaway truck ramp located east of Monarch Pass summit will be closed for critical repairs beginning Sept. 12.

Commercial truckers are urged to use extreme caution on US Highway 50 Monarch Pass as the only existing eastbound truck ramp will be closed September through late October. The Colorado Department of Transportation is performing critical repairs beginning Mon., Sept. 12 on the emergency truck ramp located at mile point 204, four miles east of the pass summit. (Monarch Pass is located on US 50 between Sargents and Poncha Springs, approximately 47 miles east of Gunnison.) The runaway truck ramp will not be operable during the entire construction phase.

Colorado State Patrol (CSP) will conduct more frequent patrols on Monarch Pass throughout the construction period. Additionally, CSP’s Motor Carrier Safety Section will oversee intermittent brake inspections and safety checks of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) near the summit (just east of MP 199) to warn truck drivers of the ramp closure. The first safety checks are set to begin after the Labor Day weekend, Tues., Sept. 6. Safety checks will help ensure big rigs have functioning brakes, inform truck drivers of the locations of tight turns on the pass, and educate them about the importance of downshifting and maintaining a low speed.

“This particular runaway truck ramp has been utilized approximately 2-3 times per year over the past five years. So, it is imperative to not only focus on a permanent repair but also educate semi-truck drivers that it will not be operable and precautionary safety measures should be taken,” Julie Constan, Region 5 Transportation Director.

Earlier this summer, maintenance crews performed a temporary repair of the truck ramp after a sinkhole developed due to a failed culvert. CDOT in partnership with Bechtolt Engineering and Williams Construction will now construct the permanent fix, replacing the existing corrugated metal pipe that conveys the South Arkansas River under the truck ramp. The new reinforced concrete pipe and headwall design will decrease the velocity of water flow, lowering the risk of erosion and prolonging the life of the structure. Guardrails and overhead signage will be upgraded to comply with current standards. The project completion is set for late October.

“This permanent repair will add to the resilience of the highway corridor by prolonging the life of the truck ramp structure and improving safety for semi-truck drivers,” Julie Constan, Region 5 Transportation Director.

Traffic Impacts

The speed limit for eastbound traffic will be reduced to 25 mph. CDOT urges commercial truck drivers and passenger vehicle drivers to use extreme caution when traveling eastbound on the east side of the pass. Most work will take place off of the highway, with only limited traffic stops to accommodate periodic movement of equipment or materials.

US 50 eastbound 3 miles east of Monarch Ski area closure map

Project Information

For additional information about this project:

Know Before You Go

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!

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