US 550 Paco/Billy Wildlife & Safety Improvements project to begin in late March

Project Update

March 14, 2024 - Southwestern Colorado - Work will take place between Ridgway State Park and Colona

Ouray County — The Colorado Department of Transportation and contractor FNF Construction will break ground on the wildlife and safety improvements project on US Highway 550 north of Ridgway. Work will take place along an eight-mile section of US 550 bordering Ridgway State Park from Mile Points 109 to 117. Crews will begin work on Monday, March 25. All work on this $7 million project is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

The project will include improvement of highway mobility with road widening for construction of a southbound passing lane just south of the Pa-Co-Chu-Puk campground. The project also includes a three-mile stretch of wildlife safety improvements. Features include installation of a large wildlife underpass at Billy Creek (Mile Point 114.4), 8-foot tall wildlife fencing, earthen escape ramps and deer guards.

“We are focusing our efforts along a significant big game migration route where 50 percent of traffic crashes in the last 10 years were wildlife related,” said CDOT Regional Transportation Director Julie Constan. “The new deer fencing will tie into existing wildlife features completing a seven-mile wildlife safety corridor expected to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions by 85 percent.”

Motorists are reminded of an additional safety improvements project located between Otter Road and the Montrose-Ouray County line.

Traffic Impacts

  • Daytime work hours will occur from sunrise to sunset, Monday to Friday. Traffic impacts include:
  • Lane closures and traffic shifts with single lane alternating traffic
  • Narrowed lanes, width restrictions and reduced shoulders
  • The speed limit will be reduced through the work zone
  • Delays up to 15 minutes can be expected
US 550 Paco - Billy Wildlife & Safety Improvements Project map located between Ridgway and Colona, Mile Points 109 - 117.
US 550 Paco - Billy Wildlife & Safety Improvements Project map located between Ridgway and Colona, Mile Points 109 - 117.

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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