OURAY, Colo. (AP) — Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed an executive order declaring an emergency disaster due to a rock slide that closed U.S. Highway 550 near Ouray on Jan. 12.

The declaration will permit the Colorado Department of Transportation to apply for Federal Transportation Emergency Relief Funds.

Transportation work crews installed temporary fencing to safeguard the highway until a more permanent solution is in place.

The order says permanent mitigation is needed to ensure public safety on the mountain corridor and that would cost more than $2 million.

The closure severed the only direct route from Ouray to Silverton, normally about a 25-mile drive. A detour over Dallas Divide and Lizard Head Pass added about 150 miles to the trip. The highway reopened on Feb. 10.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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