The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has closed US Highway (US) 550 north of Durango due to multiple slides on the highway and increased avalanche danger. The closure includes all three mountain passes – Coal Bank, Molas and Red Mountain. The 42-mile closure begins just north of Purgatory Ski Resort at Cascade Creek, mile point (MP) 53 and continues to the Town of Ouray, MP 95. There is no estimated time of opening. Avalanche control operations will be attempted on US 550 later today if weather and visibility conditions improve.
Overnight snowfall exceeded the high end of the forecast with heavy snow continuing at this time,” said Ann Mellick, forecaster with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC). “Snowfall rates have reached more than 2 inches per hour. This intense rate has triggered widespread avalanching along the US 550 corridor.”
CDOT works closely with the CAIC to determine if conditions are acceptable for motorists traveling through the high country. The CAIC reports that the north San Juan Mountain Range has received a significant amount of snow this week.
CAIC Snow Totals: 24 hour / 4 day
Red Mt. Pass: 8" / 25.5"
Molas Pass: 7" / 20"
Coal Bank Pass: 7" / 18"
Motorists may experience road closures, delays and chain law restrictions on several high mountain passes throughout southwest and south-central Colorado this holiday weekend due to the winter snowstorm moving through the region.
STAY INFORMED: Road and weather conditions are available by dialing 511, 303-639-1111, or visiting www.cotrip.org.