CITY OF OURAY: Businesses worry as rock scale work again closes Red Mountain Pass
By Sheridan Block
Extended road closure of US 550 on Red Mountain Pass is expected to continue through the month of May as the Colorado Department of Transportation and contractor Midwest Rockfall continue rock scaling efforts above the highway. As a result of the daily closures throughout the week, local Ouray business owners are worried that the negative impacts of the complete shutdown earlier this year will return just before the busy summer season begins.
"It's obviously going to affect us (business owners in Ouray), but what can we do?" asked Craig MacCraiger, owner of the Silver Nugget restaurant.
According to MacCraiger, business to his restaurant in the last week has been comparable to that in January and February when the highway was completely closed for nearly a month. During that period, local business owners along Main Street reported between 30 and 40 percent loss in business and revenue as many travelers and commuters were re-routed to Highway 145, bypassing Ouray completely. MacCraiger estimated that his business is already down by a tenth this week in comparison to previous years, with as few as two customers dining in each day.
In an effort to assist local businesses that may face great financial impact during this month's closures, the state is