Latest News – September 7

Local Traffic Updates

Now that the kids are back to school and Leadville’s BIG events are in the rearview mirror, local residents can anticipate a few road detours which could effect getting around this fall. So be advised and plan ahead. The good news is that you’ll have plenty of beautiful changing aspens to take in while you’re idling in the traffic detour lane! Stay safe out there.

US Highway 24 South – The Bridges 

Beginning tomorrow, Saturday, September 8 and lasting through Friday, September 14, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will be replacing the first of two bridges on US 24 north of Leadville at mile marker (MM) 178 and MM 179 with box culverts. The second structure is currently scheduled to be replaced the week of September 29 to October 5 (these dates are subject to change). The bridges, both built in 1934, have become functionally obsolete and can no longer handle the amount of traffic that use them on a daily basis.

During the work, US 24 will be closed 24 hours a day from State Highway 300 to County Road 4 and a local, marked detour will be in place for motorists. Crews may be performing night work to shorten the time of the closures and help minimize the impact of the work on the community.

Work will typically take place on Mondays through Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day, and from 7 a.m. to noon on Fridays. The speed limit will be reduced in the area from 55 MPH to 40 MPH. Because vehicles will not be allowed to drive over the culverts while they are being installed, motorists will need to use County Road 4, County Road 5, and State Highway 300 as a detour route for up to seven days at a time for each bridge.

In addition to replacing both bridges, CDOT will also widen the lanes and shoulders, and will install new guardrail and bridge rail. Since there are several businesses and residences between the two structures, only one will be able to be replaced at a time and a local detour will be in place for as many as seven days at a time for each bridge.

Independence Pass – Work on the Pitkin County Side.

The good news for locals who like to get in that last trip up Independence Pass before the season ends or for visitors getting up to the high country for leaf peeping, is that the work is happening on the Pitkin County side of Independence Pass.

CDOT work is underway on Independence Pass’ Pitkin County side of SH 82. Photo: CDOT

The Colorado Department of Transportation project is already underway to repair and improve rockfall mitigation on SH 82 over Independence Pass. Erosion and rockfall incidents following the installation of rockfall mitigation systems (such as wire mesh and rock bolts) on the pass in recent years have resulted in some damage to the existing systems in place, as well as the need for additional mitigation. The project is estimated to cost $137,000.  

The project, which is scheduled for completion on September 28, will be underway at three sites west of the summit: (1) the lower Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE)* wall at approximately mile marker 59.9; (2) the upper MSE wall at approximately mile marker 60.2; and (3) the draped wire mesh system at approximately mile marker 60.3. (*An MSE wall stabilizes a slope by using horizontal reinforcement-typically a synthetic material-between layers of soil. Those on the pass have rock faces. 

TRAFFIC IMPACTS:  Initially, motorists will encounter intermittent traffic stops as crews transport equipment and personnel on and off the work sites. From September 17 through September 28, there will be a single lane closure with alternating traffic for crane/lift work to hang replacement net. During that time period, motorists can anticipate up to 15 minute delays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Update – Highway 91 at Village at East Fork

The following is an update from Lake County Commissioner Mike Bordogna:

I am writing to inform you of the decision that was made at the Board of County Commissioners meeting yesterday, on August 29 at 11 a.m., concerning Highway 91 and the intersection of County Road 91B, near the entrance of the Village at East Fork. When the stakeholders last met on August 16th to establish a timeline for the work to be done, the engineering work conducted identified the necessity of building a larger shoulder area to accommodate the realignment of the lanes and a guardrail on the north side of Highway 91, before it gets to the Village at East Fork. It was not until field inspections the next day, that it was realized that the scope of the project was in fact quite larger than originally thought. Instead of being able to add material and work from the level of the highway, it was concluded that the work would need to begin from the ground level, some 50 feet below the highway and worked up to the highway level, one compacted lift at a time. Due to concerns over completing this work in time before temperatures rose above levels that would prohibit paving, the decision was made to hold off until early summer of 2013 to begin the work so that it could be completed in a singular effort. In the meantime, we have spoken to CDOT representatives about temporarily lowering of the speed limit in that area, until the danger can be mitigated by the permanent fix. We thank all of our partners in CDOT and the community for their patience and dedication to finding a permanent solution to the danger of this intersection. We will communicate more as spring arrives.



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