CDOT announces US 50 Blue Mesa bridge repair plan

Travel Advisory

May 22, 2024 - Northwestern Colorado - Key goal is safely allowing limited traffic on bridge by July 4
Phase 1 Repairs for the Blue Mesa Bridge
This image shows Phase 1 repairs for the Blue Mesa Middle Bridge.

Phase 2 Repairs for the Blue Mesa Bridge
This image shows Phase 2 repairs for the Blue Mesa Middle Bridge.

CDOT anuncia plan de reparación del puente Blue Mesa en la US 50 en español

Montrose, Gunnison and Hinsdale Counties — The Colorado Department of Transportation and project partners announced the US 50 Blue Mesa bridge repair plan at a hybrid public meeting on Tuesday, May 21. An in-person town hall meeting will take place Wednesday, May 22, in Montrose to continue to provide the update about bridge repairs.

The repair plan will prioritize fixing cracks and critical issues in four areas that pose an imminent risk to structural integrity. This will be part of Phase I repairs and will safely expedite emergency vehicles and lighter loads being allowed back onto the bridge first until permanent repairs can be completed. The goal is to restore limited vehicle access by July 4 if all of the necessary steps can be completed without delays. It is important to note that the completion of the first phase is dependent on critical factors, including weather. Once those initial repairs are completed, they will be followed by subsequent phases of construction to further strengthen the structure and get heavier loads back on the bridge before winter. This work will prioritize permanent repairs fixing all the found anomalies and bringing the bridge back to its original standards. CDOT and contractor partner, Kiewit Infrastructure, anticipate beginning to reopen the bridge to additional motor vehicle traffic during these repairs. Phase 2 requires more time to complete and can be performed safely in between in-service traffic openings on the bridge. At the completion of the permanent repairs, we will be able to allow full loads back onto the bridge, which is anticipated to be complete in fall 2024.

Critical inspections for the US 50 Blue Mesa middle bridge have been completed for assessing bridge safety. Inspectors identified and closely examined approximately 118 critical inspection locations. These internal anomalies, or defects, were carefully measured, and the project team conducted an analysis of the structure to ensure the bridge could be opened to limited loads once the initial surface cracks are repaired. The internal anomalies do require mitigation and repair for long-term serviceability of the bridge, but do not pose an immediate threat to the integrity of the structure. Secondary safety inspections will continue and will help further confirm structural integrity and repair design.

Location of the initial crack on the Blue Mesa Middle Bridge
This image shows the location of the initial crack on the Blue Mesa Middle Bridge.

Locations of all defects on the Blue Mesa Middle Bridge
This image shows the locations of all defects on the Blue Mesa Middle Bridge.

During Tuesday’s public meeting, officials also provided an update on expanded travel times on the local access route. Starting Monday, the County Road 26 bypass is now open every day for seven releases in each direction, except Wednesdays. On Wednesdays, there will be 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 use of 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 will be managed using pilot vehicles. It is a high mountain native surface and gravel road.

The town hall meeting in Montrose will be hosted by CDOT leadership and Montrose County elected officials for residents of Montrose County on Wednesday, May 22. The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Montrose County Event Center (1036 N 7th St., Montrose, CO 81401).

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.

Traffic 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 is in place for travel in place. 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.
    • No Oversize/Overweight vehicles 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 Interstate 70 or US 160 to travel between Gunnison and Montrose.

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!