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.

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

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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.

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