OURAY COUNTY – A helicopter made two trips early this morning to drop crew members from Yenter Companies CDOT’s geology department at the highest rockfall site (about 900 feet up). Yenter crews began placing anchors for their ropes and then started the process of bringing rocks down by hand with the use of 5-foot long pry bars.
It was determined that there is more material to be removed than previously identified by surveys from the helicopter earlier this week. The slope is extremely steep and crews will work their way down to a rock debris field to begin cleaning all of the loose material from this area.
The rock scaling will continue daily until it is deemed safe for travel on the highway. CDOT will continue to send daily updates on progress and any estimates of a highway reopening as soon as that is known.
The rockfall site is at MM 90, two miles south of Ouray. The actual closure points are at MM 92 just south of Ouray and at MM 87 at Ironton Park (about 17 miles north of Silverton).
ALTERNATE ROUTE: From Ouray to Durango (a distance of 70 miles using US 550) motorists will instead use SH 62 from Ridgway over Dallas Divide, SH 145 over Lizard Head Pass, then US 160, for a trip of about 154 miles.
For information on other CDOT projects, the public may call 511 or log onto CDOT’s traveler information web site at www.cotrip.org. Better yet, sign up to receive email and/or text messages by going to CDOT’s web site at www.coloradodot.info and choosing the phone icon in the upper right corner.