Highway Officials Use Bombs To Dislodge Rocks Above Highway 550

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

OURAY, Colo. (AP) — The Colorado Department of Transportation is using 30-pound bombs to dislodge rocks that have kept U.S. Highway 550 in southwestern Colorado closed since Jan. 12.

Highway 550 Rock slide work (credit: CDOT)

Highway 550 Rock slide work (credit: CDOT)

The closure has severed the only direct route from Ouray to Silverton, normally a 70-mile drive over Red Mountain Pass. A detour over Dallas Divide and Lizard Head Pass adds nearly 100 miles to the trip.

Transportation officials say an average of 2,200 vehicles a day use the highway.

Officials say a giant slab about the size of a football field came loose and crumbled into smaller pieces, punching a hole in the highway.

It’s unusual for slides to occur in the middle of the winter, but days were unseasonably warm, setting up a freeze-thaw cycle that contributed to the slide.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


More From CBS Denver

Weather App
CBS4 Hiking Weather Forecast Page

Listen Live

AM/FM Stations

Featured Shows & Multimedia