CO 133 temporary bridge opens to traffic

News Release

June 20, 2023 - Northwestern Colorado - CDOT and contractor team opened bridge to traffic Monday morning
CO 133 Temporary Bridge Paved
Newly paved and striped temporary bridge deck. Photo taken June 19, 2023.
CO 133 temporary bridge side view
CO 133 temporary bridge over Bear Creek. Photo taken June 19, 2023.

Delta & Gunnison Counties — On Monday, June 19 at 10 a.m. crews opened the temporary bridge on CO 133 to traffic. The reopening of the roadway took place 10 days ahead of the contractual deadline. Contractor R.L. Wadsworth began the project on May 23. The process for this type of prefabricated bridge usually requires four months, but crews expedited the installation.

“We appreciate the hard work and innovation of the CDOT Region 3 team and our contractor partners to get this road back open to the traveling public as quickly as possible. We know how important Highway 133 is to communities in the area like Paonia, Hotchkiss, and Somerset. It is critical for carrying traffic ranging from daily commuting, to agriculture, to tourism. We appreciate our neighbors’ patience, which helped make this expedited delivery possible,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew.

“It was extremely important to assemble and place the temporary bridge as quickly and safety as possible,” said Region 3 Transportation Director Jason Smith. “I appreciate the team effort and accelerated schedule by R.L. Wadsworth to place the temporary bridge and reopen Highway 133.”

"I am thrilled with the quick installation of the temporary bridge on Highway 133,” said Town of Paonia Mayor Mary Bachran. “Both CDOT and R.L. Wadsworth have done a magnificent job completing this job 10 days ahead of schedule. Thank you to them both."

The CDOT design team has been working in tandem with the emergency project to design the permanent repairs for CO 133 which will replace the damaged culvert and repave the highway quickly. The accelerated bridge technology utilized for this project is based on a design pioneered and used by the U.S. Department of Defense in World War II, and can be designed quickly to carry heavy loads including truck traffic.

With this bridge in place, the team is working to determine the best option for permanent repair. Any further traffic impacts for permanent repairs are expected to be minimal.

A safety closure started on Tuesday, May 2 at Mile Points 14-19 due to significant road damage. The damage originally began with a small sinkhole and lane closure during the weekend of Saturday, April 29. Major flooding from nearby Bear Creek early the week of May 1 filled a culvert with debris and flooded the roadway, pushing the culvert through the other side of the road and eroded roadway embankment, causing the road to collapse. The damage and safety closure are near Somerset, just north of Paonia. Access to Somerset from the north, via CO 133 McClure Pass, continues to be open.

Traffic Impacts

The temporary bridge has two lanes and the speed limit is 40 mph. Commercial motor vehicle traffic is restricted to 85,000 lbs and 11-foot width.

Project Information

For additional information about this project:

  • Call the project information line at 970-279-3309
  • Email the project team at: [email protected]

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!

Download the COtrip App!

The new free COtrip Planner mobile app was designed to meet the growing trend of information on mobile and tablet devices for the traveling public. The COtrip Planner app provides statewide, real-time traffic information, and works on mobile devices that operate on the iOS and Android platforms. Visit the Google Play Store (Android devices) or the Apple Store (iOS devices) to download!