Recent rockfall on Colorado Highway 145 northeast of Dolores has prompted the Colorado Department of Transportation to conduct mitigation work on the ridgeline above the roadway.
Beginning Wednesday, CDOT contractor GeoStabilization International will conduct rockfall mitigation between mileposts 14 and 29. The project is expected to last Aug. 7-16.
Travelers will encounter up to 20-minute delays along the 14-mile stretch where the work is being done. The section is from where the highway turns north past Dolores to a couple of miles beyond Stoner.
The traffic stops will allow crews to perform hillside operations and to remove rock or debris from the roadway, said CDOT spokeswoman Lisa Schwantes.
Crews will identify and dislodge hazardous rocks by hand using tools and will be working from south to north.
“They will be working as quickly as they can, please be patient,” Schwantes said. “We want to make sure any problematic areas are identified and safely mitigated.”
Motorists are urged to slow down and watch for flaggers, work crews and heavy equipment in the area.
On May 21, two house-size boulders fell 1,000 feet onto the highway at milepost 21. The road was closed, and one lane was reopened three days later. Nine weeks later, the highway had been repaired, at a cost of $1.12 million.
One boulder that landed on the roadway weighed 2.3 million pounds and had to be blasted apart for removal. The other 8.3 million-pound boulder wiped out a section of the highway and came to rest on the shoulder where it remains. Gov. Jared Polis named it Memorial Rock because it fell over Memorial Day weekend.
Since the dramatic rockfall, geotechnical crews have been visiting the area to survey for hazards, and have identified some places that need attention, Schwantes said.