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Rockslide buries all lanes of travel on Wolf Creek Pass

Highway reopened Monday afternoon after engineering assessment
A rockslide near mile marker 62 on Wolf Creek Pass closed the highway for about 2½ hours Monday. The highway reopened shortly after 4:30 p.m. Monday. No one was injured in the slide. (Courtesy of Colorado Department of Transportation)

A massive rockslide covered several lanes of travel Monday on Wolf Creek Pass, resulting in a 2½-hour closure and lengthy delays on the mountain pass east of Pagosa Springs.

The slide occurred shortly before 9 a.m. near mile marker 62, which is about 5 miles west of the summit.

The pass was closed for about 2½ hours until road crews could clear enough rubble and boulders to allow for alternating lanes of travel.

Because of the size of the slide, the Colorado Department of Transportation requested an engineer from Denver to travel assess the damage to the road and to assess the rock formations above the highway for safety purposes, said CDOT spokeswoman Adair Christensen.

That inspection had been completed as of Monday afternoon, and the highway was fully reopened shortly after 4:30 p.m., she said.

No vehicles were involved in the slide, and no one was injured in the rockslide, she said.

It is possible the slide was the result of a freeze-thaw cycle, she said.

“The temperatures these last few days have been a little bit warmer compared to the patterns that we have been seeing,” Christensen said. “That freeze-thaw and contraction of rocks is likely, but we don’t have all the details.”

Road crews were able to clear the slide using heavy equipment. No blasting was needed to break apart boulders, she said.


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