A Rockslide, with a boulder of a size of a house, wiped out a section of the highway in SW Colorado

A Rockslide, with a boulder of a size of a house, wiped out a section of the highway in SW Colorado

From The Journal, Denver Post and CDOT

A crew Sunday night blasted one of two boulders that shut down Colorado Highway 145 north of Dolores since Friday, and built a temporary road to allow traffic through.

Trucks hauled way the rubble beginning Sunday, and the bypass road opened Monday afternoon.

The explosion of the boulder - photo CDOT. A Rockslide, with a boulder of a size of a house, wiped out a section of the highway in SW Colorado
The explosion of the boulder – photo CDOT. A Rockslide, with a boulder of a size of a house, wiped out a section of the highway in SW Colorado

The rock slide prompted three days of work to try to reopen the highway, a key route between Dolores and Telluride, and an alternate route to the Iron Horse bicycle race from Durango to Silverton.

On Saturday, officials assessed the ridgeline above the highway for additional threats. CDOT had two priorities: to “patch the damaged road” and to ensure the stability of the rock ridge formation.

“A geo-technical crew conducted a ground and aerial investigation of the steep terrain earlier today and determined rock scaling is needed,” CDOT spokeswoman Lisa Schwantes said Saturday. A team was airlifted to the ‘brow’ of the ridgeline to clean and clear loose rock on the ridge and slope.

The boulder on the road. Photo: CDOT. A Rockslide, with a boulder of a size of a house, wiped out a section of the highway in SW Colorado.
The boulder on the road. Photo: CDOT. A Rockslide, with a boulder of a size of a house, wiped out a section of the highway in SW Colorado.

By Sunday, a crew had finished scaling the top of the ridge to ensure it was stable and began drilling blasting holes on top of one of the boulders.

An earthen ramp was built to the top of the boulder so crews could drill.

The geo-technical crew calculated that 15 to 20 holes, each 15 feet deep, were needed to be drilled vertically into the rock. The holes were then filled with explosive charges to pop the rock into chunks that could be hauled away.

Crews also built a temporary bypass road so the highway could be reopened to alternating, one-lane northbound and southbound traffic. The bypass originally was projected to open Tuesday or Wednesday.

Another aerial picture of the rock slide. Photo: CDOT. A Rockslide, with a boulder of a size of a house, wiped out a section of the highway in SW Colorado.
Another aerial picture of the rock slide. Photo: CDOT. A Rockslide, with a boulder of a size of a house, wiped out a section of the highway in SW Colorado.

The boulder on the highway was estimated to be 48 feet long, 18 feet wide and 18 feet high. It weighed about 2.3 million pounds, according to Schwantes. The other boulder crossed the highway and “blew out an eight-foot trench.” It was estimated to be 50 feet long, 50 feet wide and 26 feet high and weigh 8.5 million pounds.

CDOT feared rain Monday would delay efforts to remove the boulders.

“There are a lot of unknowns right now,” Schwantes said Sunday.

The Rockslide, with a boulder of a size of a house, wiped out a section of the highway in SW Colorado on Friday 25th May in the afternoon

CDOT (The Colorado Department of Transportation) has given at that time a news release that Colorado 145 highway indefinitely 12 miles north of Dolores, between Cortez and Telluride, in SW Colorado.

A Rockslide, with a boulder of a size of a house, wiped out a section of the highway in SW Colorado
A Rockslide, with a boulder of a size of a house, wiped out a section of the highway in SW Colorado

More info: The Journal

Denver Post

CDOT

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A Rockslide, with a boulder of a size of a house, wiped out a section of the highway in SW Colorado
A Rockslide, with a boulder of a size of a house, wiped out a section of the highway in SW Colorado

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Featured Image: An aerial image of the road obstruction. Photo: CDOT. A Rockslide, with a boulder of a size of a house, wiped out a section of the highway in SW Colorado

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