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Avalanche Mitigation Brings 60 Feet Of Snow & Debris, Closes U.S. 550 Indefinitely

SAN JUAN/OURAY COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - Avalanche mitigation in southwest Colorado has forced the indefinite closure of U.S. 550, also known as Red Mountain Pass. The Colorado Department of Transportation says they addressed 20 avalanche paths on three passes on Saturday.

Red Mtn Pass Closure 4 (CDOT)
(credit: CBS)

They report about 60 feet of snow and debris is covering the highway after mitigation efforts yesterday.

"Today's mitigation results are daunting. It will mean a lot of work and hundreds of man hours to clear this road. We will need to acquire more bulldozers and look to other CDOT regions to help us out with equipment and personnel," said CDOT Deputy Superintendent of Maintenance, John Palmer.

Red Mtn Pass Closure 5 (CDOT).jpg
(credit: CBS)

They also say the snow and debris now span about a mile on the highway.

Crews are also concerned about the West Riverside slide. More than 40 feet of new snow came down on a 300-foot stretch of highway. The slide filled the Riverside snow shed, officials say.

RELATED: Massive Avalanche Near Aspen Saturday Was Mile Wide, Dropped 3,300 Feet

Red Mtn Pass Closure 6 (CDOT).jpg
(credit: CBS)

Crews worked on both Molas Pass and Lizard Head Pass on Saturday, and both have been reopened to traffic.

CDOT Avalanche Mitigation Update

CDOT Avalanche Mitigation Update

Posted by CBS Denver on Sunday, March 10, 2019

CDOT suggests drivers take Highway 145 through Telluride to travel to and from Durango and Ouray.

LINK: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

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