by Dalton Carver
Beginning last Sunday, Colorado Department of Transportation crews on Red Mountain Pass have been working 24 hours a day to get US 550 open for motorists. Despite the increased shift activity, CDOT predicts it will be at least the end of the month until the highway is open.
Following the snow activity at the end of last week, CDOT crew shifts were extended to 12 hours, with groups changing at midnight and noon. With the increased work and successful avalanche mitigation last Friday, CDOT is pleased with the progress it has made. Lisa Schwantes, Region 5 communications manager, said explosive charges were dropped via helicopter last Friday that took care of several avalanche paths on Red Mountain, which has made the work area safer for crews.
“On Red Mountain, we really got after it and worked on more than 20 slide paths that brought down more snow,” she said. “We’re very comfortable with letting the crews work on the corridor.”
Despite the progress, Schwantes said CDOT expects the highway to remain closed through the rest of March. The closure began March 3 at 11 p.m. and as of 11 p.m. Wednesday, will have been inoperative for more than 400 hours for this specific closure.
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