NEWS
2:02 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

US 550 South of Ouray Closed Through Weekend

Rocks falling onto US 550 created a 6" hole in the highway
Credit Colorado Department of Transportation

Update: 12:30 PM (January 15): CDOT has confirmed that US 550/Red Mountain Pass two miles south of Ouray will be closed at least through this weekend (until Monday, January 20.) Rocks have reportedly been continually falling on the road near mile marker 90 as crews try to clear the rubble. 

Kerrie Neet, the regional director for CDOT, acknowledged that motorists in southwest Colorado don't have many alternative travel options, saying "there is a hardship anytime we close this pass."

Another view of the SMPA backup lines damaged by the rockslides. The poles are on steep and difficult-to-access terrain. SMPA says it could be a few days before crews can safely begin work at the site to fix the downed poles.
Credit San Miguel Power Association

In addition to shutting down the road, the recent rockslides also damaged a power line that brings backup power supplies to the region around Ouray and Ridgway. A spokesperson for the San Miguel Power Association says there aren't currently any issues with power in the region, but warned that if any outages on the main line do occur, getting power back up could take longer than usual. 

CDOT is advising travelers to use HWY 145 as an alternative route south through Durango.

A view of the rockslide
Credit Colorado Department of Transportation

 Update 7:30 PM (January 13): CDOT officials say US 550 will remained closed through the night as crews continue clearing rock that continues to "rain down" on the road. The falling rocks have been reported to be 6 inches in diameter and are covering a 200-feet area of the road. 

Crews will be on the scene early tomorrow morning with the assistance of a helicopter to continue removing the rubble. Still no expected time for when the road could reopen.

Original Post:

US 550 (Red Mountain Pass) is closed yet again just south of Ouray (from mile marker 80-92) after the second rockslide along the highway in two days. 

According to officials with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), more rocks have fallen along the highway and it remains closed as crews work to clear the area. As of around 1 PM this afternoon, rocks were reportedly still falling as crews were working along the highway, and there's no estimate yet for when the road will be re-opened. CDOT says it could remain closed throughout the night.

Crews worked into the night on Sunday to clear the first of two rockslides that have closed US 550 just south of Ouray.
Credit Colorado Department of Transportation

CDOT officials say a "great deal of rubble" fell yesterday evening from about 900 feet up, with the biggest rocks being about 2 feet in diameter. The biggest pile of rocks was reportedly 8 feet deep. That slide also took out a power line, and CDOT lost power to a nearby snow shed and weather station.

Travelers can visit CDOT's Road Conditions website for real-time updates on closures and weather conditions throughout the state. CDOT is recommending 

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