US 550 Red Mountain Pass opened at 12:15 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 8

Winter Travel Alert

February 8, 2024 - Southwestern Colorado - Winter driving impacts expected through Sunday morning on many southwest mountain passes

Mountain Pass Open Graphic

Southwest Colorado - US Highway 550 Red Mountain Pass opened at approximately 12:15 p.m. (Thurs., Feb. 8) after Colorado Department of Transportation crews performed avalanche mitigation and snow removal operations over two days. Additional winter maintenance work was completed today on Colorado Highway 145 Lizard Head Pass between Rico and Telluride. CO 145 was closed for approximately 90 minutes beginning at 8 a.m.

A safety closure was in place on US 550 between Ouray and Silverton since Tuesday evening (Feb. 6) due to adverse weather conditions and high avalanche danger.

Motorists are urged to check highway impacts on as a new storm system is forecasted to move into the southwest corner of the state tonight.

Southwest mountain pass snowfall accumulation totals expected through Sat., Feb 10:

  • US 550 Coal Bank, Molas and Red Mountain Passes: 8-9 inches
  • US 160 Wolf Creek Pass: 18 inches
  • US 160 La Veta Pass: 7 inches
  • US 50 Monarch Pass: 7 inches
  • CO 145 Lizard Head Pass: 8 inches
  • CO 17 Cumbres & La Manga Passes: 13 inches
Colorado Department of Transportation and National Weather Service expected snowfall accumulation map showing highway totals Thursday, February 8 through Saturday, February 10.
Colorado Department of Transportation and National Weather Service expected snowfall accumulation map showing highway totals Thursday, February 8 through Saturday, February 10.

Winter Travel Tips for Motorists

  • Avoid or limit driving during the brunt of the storm. Many areas of the state will experience pavement impacts and blowing snow due to strong winds.
  • Work from home if you can.
  • If you plan to travel, know before you go by checking out the latest weather conditions and visiting for road conditions (see info sources below).
  • Make sure your vehicle is winter ready with the appropriate tires for the weather and have a snow emergency kit.
  • Once you are out on the road, take it slow, no sudden stops and leave plenty of following distance.
  • Give plows space! Stay back three to four car lengths from snow plows.

Safety Closures

A safety closure is a precaution taken during inclement weather to reduce the probability of traffic incidents, increased congestion or other safety-related factors. During a safety closure, traffic may be stopped on the interstate, turned around or directed to an exit. Safety closures help decrease delay times, and, above all, keep travelers safe.

Chain and Traction Laws

When weather conditions warrant, CDOT will activate the Traction Law. If weather conditions deteriorate, CDOT will activate Chain Laws for passenger and commercial vehicles. Motorists will be alerted to an active Traction or Chain Law by highway signage, and traffic/roadway condition alerts. For more information on the Traction Law and Passenger Vehicle Chain Law requirements, visit For more information on the Commercial Vehicle Chain Law requirements, visit To learn more and view helpful tips for winter driving, visit and COtrip Planner app

Motorists are urged to visit and download the COtrip Planner app ahead of traveling. Motorists are now able to sign up for travel alerts through to see if there are any highway closures or impacts along their favorite routes. The COtrip Planner app also offers a “Trip Planner” feature that allows motorists to map out their routes and receive updates about road closures or incidents along the way. Motorists can turn on the “Hands-Free, Eyes Free” feature to receive these alerts via voice notifications and avoid routes with impacts.

CDOT is also pleased to offer motorists the opportunity to track CDOT snow plows on the app and website, and can even follow some of our “celebrity” plows that were named by elementary school students last year. Using the snow plow tracker allows motorists to see where our plows have been and even see what the road conditions look like by viewing the cameras in the area of the plows. CDOT plows have thousands of miles of roadway to maintain, so motorists are asked to please be patient and are reminded to never pass a plow on the right or while in echelon formation. It is always safer to stay behind a plow.

Know Before You Go

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts, anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions before hitting the road. CDOT and other resources include: