Boulder to stay put, road built around it

By Erin McIntyre

What do you do when nature plops an 8-million pound boulder in the middle of a highway?
The state of Colorado has decided to go around it and turn the geological wonder into a tourist attraction, another stop to hit in roadside America.
Gov. Jared Polis announced Tuesday morning at a press conference, broadcast on the Internet, that the state has opted to leave the rock where it fell on Colorado Highway 145 and re-build the road around it. His plan is to name the boulder “Memorial Rock,” a nod to the timing of its fall over Memorial Day weekend and also to honor those who served in the military and died.
The rockfall forced the closure of the highway between Rico and Dolores, between mile markers 15 and 45, a route used as a detour around Red Mountain Pass. The boulders fell on the route on a day when U.S. Highway 550 was closed for the Iron Horse Race over Red Mountain Pass, when travelers were using it as an alternate route. No one was injured.
After the rockfall, Colorado Department of Transportation crews blasted and removed a boulder weighing 2.3 million pounds — that was the small one. But this larger boulder is one Gov. Polis said will stay.

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