Steamboat Springs If the weather cooperates, delays are likely today on U.S. Highway 40 near Hayden as crews again work to remove rocks posing a danger to passing motorists.
The work will take place near mile point 113.7, or about six miles east of Hayden in the Mount Harris Canyon. Crews are scheduled to work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nancy Shanks said drivers should expect delays of 20 minutes while traffic is stopped so rocks can be brought down from the cliffsides and cleared from the highway. There then will be single-lane, alternating traffic through the work area. She also warned of even longer delays — “45 minutes or possibly more if things don’t go right,” Shanks said.
Shanks said the rock work is being done because CDOT crews have been monitoring a crack in the rocks and noticed there had been some recent movement. The workers today will be removing rock by hand and with the use of airbags that are inflated in cracks to loosen rocks.
The work is being done in a five-mile stretch of U.S. 40 between Steamboat Springs and Hayden that has been the site of several significant rockfall incidents and numerous reports of rocks on the road this spring. Rockfall is typical when temperatures fluctuate below and above freezing, but there has been an increase in incidents involving rocks and cars.
Three significant rock slides sent two people to the hospital this year. The last major slide was March 28.
CDOT representatives have said they are optimistic the department will be able to redirect some money to address problem areas in Mount Harris by fall. The agency estimated that a netting and fencing project would cost $800,000 to $1 million.
— To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com