OURAY COUNTY – Despite the recent snows over the past several days, the Colorado Department of Transportation reports that crews are making good progress on installing rockfall fencing along a portion of US 550 Red Mountain Pass where a massive rockslide occurred two miles south of Ouray along the Ruby Walls portion of the highway on Sunday, Jan. 11.
With continued good progress and weather permitting, the fence could be complete by this Friday, according to a CDOT press release posted on Monday this week. This temporary fencing—360 feet long and 24 feet high—is being installed to further safeguard travel on the highway until a more permanent solution is in place, the release stated.
Once the fencing is complete, CDOT expects to open the roadway up to traffic 24/7, with single-lane, alternating travel.
The highway was completely closed between Silverton and Ouray from Jan. 12 through Jan. 30, but re-opened to single-lane, alternating traffic two times a day—from 6:30-8:30 a.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m. – last Friday, Jan. 31 after crews finished installing upwards of 40 rockfall netting panels over massive amounts of debris still perched on the sheer cliffs above the highway.
The Ouray-based company Rigging for Rescue played an integral part in this effort, as did the Silverton-based extreme ski area Silverton Mountain, which used its helicopter to help transport the wire mesh rockfall panels from a staging area in Ironton Park to the Ruby Walls.
Remarkably, nobody was hurt in either the rockfall incident, or the mitigation efforts that followed.
In the coming days, CDOT and contractor Yenter Companies will continue work on the fence as weather permits and forecasters with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center will continue to monitor the area for avalanche risk in the work zone.
Briefs and photos are posted on CDOT’s Media Room page at http://www.coloradodot.info/news/media-room.html and full press releases are posted at: http://www.coloradodot.info/news/statewide-news. Travelers are advised to use the following highways for an alternate route: SH 62, SH 145 and US 160.