The Colorado Department of Transportation will begin the installation Aug. 5 of new avalanche control equipment above U.S. Highway 50 Monarch Pass, about 15 miles west of Poncha Springs.
Work will take place above U.S. 50 between mile points 201.0 and 202.0 near the Monarch Ski Area.
Midwest Rockfall, Inc. of Henderson is the prime contractor on this $366,000 project.
Regular work hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. No weekend work is anticipated.
Motorists should expect minimal traffic impacts since most work will take place off of the highway.
The public will be notified of periodic full eastbound and westbound lane closures to facilitate rock scaling and helicopter operations.
These closures will occur for no more than 20-minute intervals, a total of 10 times throughout the duration of the entire project. Otherwise, US 50 will remain open as normal.
Work is expected to end in October 2019, weather dependent.
As part of CDOT’s Whole System–Whole Safety initiative, this new avalanche control system will ensure a safer avalanche mitigation program for CDOT and the public.
The U.S. 50 avalanche control project includes installing a control shelter which will house equipment needed for the operation of the remote avalanche control system near the Monarch Ski Area.
The new system will provide more efficient avalanche control, making the area safer for the traveling public. This remote system is also more reliable and safer for CDOT personnel to operate.
CDOT currently operates more than 30 remote systems at several locations on high mountain highways and the I-70 mountain corridor.
Every winter CDOT and sister agency, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, regularly monitor and control some 278 of 522 known avalanche paths located above Colorado highways.
The monitoring and mitigation help prevent natural avalanches from impacting public travel.
When there is high risk of avalanche danger, CDOT will close highways at the location of the avalanche path in order to conduct avalanche control operations. While the road is safely closed to any traffic, avalanches are triggered.
Maintenance crews with heavy equipment then clear the highway of any snow and debris that reached the road. The highway can then be re-opened for safer public travel.
Get direct email announcements and updates by signing up at US50Shelter@gmail.com. or visit the project website at www.codot.gov/projects/monarch-pass-avalanche-control-shelter.
Information about weekly lane closures is available at https://www.codot.gov/travel/scheduled-lane-closures.html