Work will begin Monday, April 28 on a project to scale more rocks off the mountainside above U.S. 550 on Red Mountain Pass, where a large rockslide on Jan. 12 led to a near month-long closure.
Since the re-opening of the highway on Feb. 10, traffic has been in a single-lane, alternating configuration 24/7, controlled by a signal.
Highway officials said that starting Monday and lasting for up to four weeks (ending prior to Memorial Day), U.S. 550 on Red Mountain Pass will be fully closed between Ironton Park (mile marker 87) and south of Ouray (MM 92) during these hours: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturdays. The pass will be open all other times, with single-lane, alternating traffic controlled by a signal.
CDOT has hired a contractor to conduct the follow-up scaling work, which will involve climbing to the rockfall site, removing and repairing the existing rock fence (which is anchored to concrete barrier on the roadway’s center line) and installing rockfall monitoring equipment.
This work is estimated to cost $928,000. Later this summer, CDOT will be contracting a project that will provide a longer-term mitigation solution for this area. That project will include the installation of additional mesh on the slope, as well as rockfall fences and rockfall attenuators. The final design will be dependent on the success of this rockfall scaling work and the information gathered during the scaling.
The Colorado Transportation Commission provided $173,588 in contingency funding for the design, while construction estimates for the summer mitigation project are totaling $2.3 million (estimates will change based on scaling work).
The average daily traffic count on Red Mountain Pass is 2,200.