OURAY COUNTY – A month to the day after a huge rockslide shut down U.S. 550 between Ouray and Silverton, the highway has finally completely reopened to traffic.
Intermittent travel twice a day has been possible since the end of January, but it wasn’t until Monday night, Feb. 10, that the Colorado Department of Transportation reopened the roadway to traffic 24-7, with single-lane, alternating travel.
Crews from CDOT and Yenter Companies put in a long day on Monday in blizzard conditions, finishing rockfall fence along the hazard area – a 360-foot portion of the highway in an area known as the Ruby Walls two miles south of Ouray – and installing traffic lights to control the single-lane alternating travel.
After a scheduled opening from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday evening, “we kept it open after that, and didn’t have to shut it back down,” said CDOT Project Engineer Tim Webb.
Webb and the rest of the crew have only had one day off since the massive rockfall mitigation project mobilized a month ago.
“We get to go home tomorrow,” he said. “We were working like crazy to get it done.”
The project has been fraught with danger – rockfall, ice fall, and at times fiercely wintery conditions, but there have been no injuries at the work site.
“We are relieved for sure to get it done,” Webb said.
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