CDOT makes substantial progress ahead of US 50 Blue Mesa Middle Bridge limited opening

Travel Advisory

June 27, 2024 - Northwestern Colorado - Lane closures planned for the Lake Fork Bridge this weekend

Montrose, Gunnison and Hinsdale Counties — The Colorado Department of Transportation is pleased to announce the limited opening of the US 50 Blue Mesa Middle Bridge ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. With the first phase of repairs complete, emergency vehicles and those in smaller vehicles can start crossing over the US 50 Middle Bridge at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 3. County Road 26 will remain open and maintained as a detour, and Kebler Pass is now open as well, as a seasonal route.

“CDOT anticipates delivering on our goal of opening the Blue Mesa Middle Bridge to limited traffic ahead of July 4,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “We continue to work towards completing needed repairs ahead of winter. Over the course of the holiday weekend, the bridge will be open for 12 hours a day, which we hope encourages tourism in this area as these communities are still very much open for business. Starting on July 8, we will settle into a twice-a-day opening schedule to allow crews to continue to work on repairs throughout the day.”

For the long holiday weekend, one lane will be open on the bridge, and pilot cars, at slow speeds, will lead single-direction traffic between the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. through Sunday, July 7. After the long holiday weekend, beginning Monday, July 8, the bridge will be open, and pilot cars will lead single-direction traffic each day from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and again from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Eastbound US 50 Montrose to Gunnison

Eastbound US 50 traffic (going towards Gunnison) will be stopped at the County Road 26 turnoff that is the current detour location. This stopping point is 0.5 mile west of the Middle Bridge. At this stop, traffic will be separated by which vehicles are allowed over the Middle Bridge and which vehicles have to take the County Road 26 detour, see below for more details on allowable vehicles.

Westbound US 50 Gunnison to Montrose

Vehicles traveling westbound on US 50 (going towards Montrose) will see signage during the passage times at the CO 149 and US 50 intersection, which will allow traffic that meets the restriction criteria (see below for more details on allowable vehicles) to proceed on US 50 to the crossing point along with traffic that are wishing to camp/fish/recreate along the north shore of the reservoir. All other vehicles that do not meet the restriction criteria will need to continue on CO 149 to the County Road 26 detour. Signage will be updated at US 50 and CO 149 at the end of the access window (6:30 p.m.) directing all westbound traffic to use CO 149 to the County Road 26 detour.

Approved for crossing over the US 50 Middle Bridge:

  • Passenger Vehicles
  • Pickup Trucks
  • Vans
  • Motorcycles
  • Emergency vehicles, ambulances and fire trucks

Required to utilize County Road 26 detour:

  • RV/Campers
  • Motorhomes
  • Trucks pulling trailers (boats, campers, side by sides)
  • Semi-trucks
  • Buses

CDOT leadership will host an in-person and virtual public meeting on Tuesday, July 2, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Gunnison County Courthouse, 200 E. Virginia Ave., on the second floor to outline the limited opening schedule and discuss next steps for the continued bridge repairs. To join the meeting online, go to

Members of CDOT’s team will be out on Wednesday morning to provide refreshments and cookies to the motorists lined up at the closure points starting at 6:30 a.m. as a show of appreciation.

Crews have completed the first stage of critical repairs on the bottom flange, the horizontal part of a l-shaped beam, of the US 50 Middle Bridge. Working from a temporary scaffolding suspended from the side of the bridge, crews began the process of bolting four plates in four locations on Wednesday, June 12. This first phase of the repair process addressed areas that posed an imminent risk to structural integrity. Each plate location’s assembly is about 23 feet long, 2 ½ feet wide and 2 ½ inches thick, weighing approximately 9,000 pounds. More than 200 bolts were needed to secure each plate in place.

Currently, crews are modifying the expansion joints on the bridge to prepare for traffic on July 3. This weekend, crews will be preparing for quick deck access so that repairs can begin on the top flange on July 8, with bottom flange global repairs starting in August 2024.

Lake Fork Bridge Lane Closures

As CDOT works toward the limited opening of the US 50 Blue Mesa Middle Bridge, crews are now looking at potential repair work for the Lake Fork Bridge, located on the west side of Sapinero, and anticipate lane closures this weekend. Crews will be installing strain gauge sensors, which will monitor the effect of traffic loading on the structure and will be used to analyze effects of construction activities, such as initial milling operations as crews move into the inspection and repair phases of the Lake Fork Bridge. CDOT is currently planning single lane closures on the Lake Fork Bridge on Friday, June 28 through Monday, July 1 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. to install the sensors.

Detour Routes:

County Road 26 continues to serve as a bypass around the bridge closure for travel between Gunnison and Montrose. This detour route is open for seven releases in each direction every day except Wednesdays when there are five releases in each direction. Each Wednesday there is a midday closure to allow crews to safely make repairs to the road, when staff and materials are available. The State of Colorado legal maximum vehicle dimensions and weights will be enforced. This allows trailers and heavier commercial vehicles to use the bypass.

Vehicles traveling through Colorado should utilize the alternate state highway detours to the north and south (Interstate 70 and US Highway 160) instead of County Road 26 if possible. To maintain the local access route as a viable, safe bypass, traffic is managed using pilot vehicles. It is a high mountain native surface and gravel road.

Along with County Road 26, Kebler Pass is now open for the season to help ease travel through the area. Kebler Pass restrictions include no vehicles over 30,000 pounds, no vehicles longer than 50 feet and no hazardous materials.

Starting June 26, Gunnison CR 26 will allow overweight and over-width traffic. These loads, in excess of 85,000 pounds and/or over 8 1⁄2 feet in width and/or 14 1⁄2 feet in height and/or truck tractor semitrailer combinations that exceed 70 feet, require special permitting on both state and County roads. Oversize-Overweight vehicles are required to comply with state regulations found at:

Extra-Legal permits (permit) must be obtained prior to entry into Colorado or prior to movement of the vehicle/load. In order to travel CR 26 both state and County permits must be obtained. At a minimum, obtaining the approved permit by noon the day before the movement of the vehicle/load should be followed to ensure that the trip can proceed. These vehicles will proceed during the regularly scheduled release times.

Travel will only be permitted during the following release times on only Wednesdays for Oversize-Overweight loads.

Eastbound release times are 6:30 and 8:30 a.m. and westbound release times are 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. Each traffic release window is 30 minutes.

For state permits contact the Colorado Department of Transportation at 1-800-350-3765 or through

For County permits contact Gunnison County Public Works at 970-641-0044 or email [email protected] or online at

A hotline and email address continue to be available to assist customers with questions about the local access route and US 50 bridge closure. Anyone with questions can reach out via 970-648-4423 or [email protected]. Calls are closely monitored and receive a prompt reply. Information is also available on the project website at Travelers should refer to or the smartphone COtrip Planner app to plan an alternate route.

Travel Impacts

  • US 50 is closed between Montrose and Gunnison
  • Recommended alternate routes are I-70 to the north or US 160 to the south
  • A limited, local access route, Gunnison CR 26, is in place for travel. Up-to-date travel times are posted to and the Gunnison County bridge closure page at No public travel will be allowed outside of the times posted.
    • Oversize/overweight vehicles will only be allowed on CR 26 with a permit on Wednesdays per Colorado Department of Transportation regulations.
    • No Placarded Hazardous Materials loads per Colorado Department of Transportation regulations
    • Prohibited vehicles will need to use detours on I-70 or US 160 to travel between Gunnison and Montrose.

Media kit available by emailing [email protected].

Resources for Information and Updates

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:

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!