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

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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.

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.

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.

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