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U.S. 550 south of Ouray to remain closed at least through weekend

By Nancy Shanks
Special to The SUN

U.S. 550 over Red Mountain Pass will remain closed at least through the weekend, due to continuous rockfall and the risk of more at mile marker 90, two miles south of Ouray. There is currently no estimate for a reopening of the pass beyond this weekend, though more will be known by Friday as mitigation work gets underway. Motorists are urged to stay updated by going to www.cotrip.org or signing up for road condition messaging through CDOT’s web site .

The alternate routes are the following:  From Ouray to Durango (a distance of 70 miles using U.S. 550) motorists will instead use S.H. 62 from Ridgway over Dallas Divide, S.H. 145 over Lizard Head Pass, then U.S. 160, for a trip of 168 miles (a 98-mile detour).

“We do not have easy alternate routes here in southwest Colorado and there is a hardship any time we close this pass,” CDOT Region 5 Transportation Director Kerrie Neet said. “It’s important for travelers and surrounding communities to know we don’t make these decisions lightly; we base them on the safety of the traveling public, as well as our workers.”

Today San Miguel Power will remove the downed power pole as well as loose wire on the mountainside. Thursday and Friday, they plan to conduct work to bring the loose rock down from 900 feet above the roadway.

This story was posted on January 15, 2014.