CDOT and CSP alert truckers of eastbound runaway ramp closure on US 50 Monarch Pass

Travel Advisory

September 15, 2022 - Southwestern Colorado - Semi-truck drivers urged to take extra safety precautions while the ramp is inoperable, September through October

Southwestern Colorado — A week prior to Colorado Department of Transportation’s repair of a runaway truck ramp, Colorado State Patrol held a commercial vehicle safety check operation at the summit of US Highway 50 Monarch Pass located between Gunnison and Poncha Springs. CSP troopers alerted truckers of the eastbound ramp closure located at mile point 204 (Sept. 12 through the end of October) and advised them to use extreme caution while traveling over mountain passes.

During the week of September 6, CSP’s Motor Carrier Safety troopers teamed up to inspect commercial motor vehicles and alert drivers of a runaway truck ramp closure approximately four miles east of Monarch Pass summit (US Highway 50).

“With the scheduled ramp closure, we want to really emphasize to truck drivers to check their brakes, use their gears appropriately, and slow down on the pass,” stated Master Sergeant Dave Evridge of CSP's Motor Carrier Safety Division.

During last week’s safety check operations, CSP diverted all eastbound commercial trucks weighing over 10,001 pounds through a checkpoint at the pass summit where troopers informed truckers of the upcoming ramp closure, performed inspections, and ensured drivers were prepared to continue the route down the mountain pass safely.

CSP will conduct intermittent safety check operations and more frequent patrols on Monarch pass during the two-month construction period. CDOT has placed additional signage along the route to warn semi-truck drivers of the ramp closure and construction impacts. Permanent signage along this US 50 route notifies drivers of the 6% grade and reads, “Trucks Stay in Lower Gear.”

“We urge all drivers to practice the utmost caution and understand the steepness of mountain passes in our region. Know the road, obey the speed limit, anticipate curves, and utilize safe driving practices to keep control of your vehicle,” stated Julie Constan, Region 5 Transportation Director.

A semi-truck descends the east side of Monarch Pass on US Hwy 50 between Gunnison and Poncha Springs where posted signs warn drivers of the 6% steep grade for 10 miles.

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.

Maintain Control

  • Check brakes before descending the pass.
  • Maintain a low speed, in low gear. Use flashers to warn other vehicles of the truck's low speed.
  • Do not "ride" the truck's brakes. This will cause overheating and possible loss of the brake system. Jake Brakes (or compression brakes) can be a useful braking mechanism to help control the speed of a heavy truck. However, the best practice is to remain in low gears to avoid overheating.
  • Keep brakes cool by pulling into brake stations or onto the shoulder of the road, if a safe spot can be located.

Watch the informative YouTube video about the Monarch Pass emergency ramp at

Project Background

Earlier this summer, maintenance crews performed a temporary repair of the eastbound Monarch Pass truck ramp after a sinkhole developed due to a failed culvert. CDOT in partnership with Bechtolt Engineering and Williams Construction are 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.

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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