By Doug Hoffacker
OURAY, Colo. (CBS4)– Heavy rain caused rock to fall and mudslides on Sunday, stranding motorists and closing U.S. Highway 550 over Red Mountain Pass. The road will be closed indefinitely two miles south of Ouray.
Several drivers were rescued from the highway when the slides started on Sunday afternoon.
Travis Guy watched one mudslide rain down on the roadway right in front of him.
“We were trapped in a quarter-mile section of Hwy 550 (Red Mountain Pass) for an hour starting around 4:30 due to mud slides and landslides in both directions. The police who came for rescue operations said the road is washed out in several places towards Silverton. We were about 3 miles above Ouray and waterfalls were coming onto the highway everywhere. 3 large boulders–one about the size of an ATV–flew across the road right in front of us seconds before the mudslides and waterfalls started. We had some very tense moments while we wondered if boulders would fly down and knock our tiny car off the cliff below.”
Colorado Department of Transportation crews are working to clear the highway, but say the slides are up to four feet deep. They have no estimate for when the highway will reopen. Red Mountain Pass links Ouray and Silverton in southwestern Colorado.