US 160 and CO 145 scheduled to close Tuesday for critical helicopter operations

Travel Advisory

November 13, 2023 - Southwestern Colorado - Approximate two hour delay on Wolf Creek Pass begins at 8:30 a.m.

Southwest Colorado — On Tuesday, southwest Colorado motorists should plan for closures along US Highway 160 and Colorado Highway 145 while the Colorado Department of Transportation performs safety-critical helicopter operations in preparation for the upcoming winter season. US 160 Wolf Creek Pass will close for approximately two hours from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The lengthy closure is needed to allow for motorist safety during helicopter operations and preparations of avalanche mitigation equipment above the highway.

Additional intermittent 30-minute closures will take place on CO 145 between Telluride and Rico for most of Tuesday afternoon, beginning at 12 noon.

Please be aware that helicopter operations are dependent upon weather conditions and delay times are approximate and may be extended should unusual circumstances arise.

US 160 Wolf Creek Pass Helicopter Operations
CDOT Photo: In preparation for the upcoming winter season, CDOT crews prepare and place avalanche mitigation equipment above the highway on multiple southwest Colorado mountain corridors.

Traffic Impacts

US 160 Wolf Creek Pass (between South Fork and Pagosa Springs):

Both eastbound and westbound motorists will encounter full stops and a lengthy delay of up to two hours. Motorists are urged to allow for extra travel time or seek alternate routes.

  • West closure point: Treasure Falls (MP 157), 13 miles east of Pagosa Springs
  • East closure point: Wolf Creek Pass Ski Area (MP 167), 19 miles west of South Fork

CO 145 Lizard Head Pass (between Telluride and Rico):

Both southbound and northbound motorists will encounter full stops and intermittent 30-minute delays between 12 noon and 3:00 p.m. Motorists are urged to allow for extra travel time or seek alternate routes.

  • South closure point: Forest Service Road 423 (MP 49), 2 miles north of Rico
  • North closure points: Travelers may encounter two closures, one three miles north of Rico (MP 50) or one near Trout Lake (MP 61)

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!