Mon January 13, 2014
US 550 South of Ouray Closed Through Weekend
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."
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.
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.
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.
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