Nighttime closures on U.S. 160 begin Sept. 13 east of the Colo. 151 intersection

The weeklong nightly closures, near Chimney Rock National Monument, will allow for work associated with wildlife crossing project

Colorado Department of Transportation

U.S. 160 will be fully closed nightly for almost one week in mid-September. The five nights of closures will begin on Monday, Sept. 13, and continue through Sept. 17, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. The section of U.S. 160 to be closed is located just east of the Colo. 151 junction, near Chimney Rock National Monument and Lake Capote (near mile point 127). 

The intersection of U.S. 160 and Colo. 151 will remain open; however, motorists will only be able to travel westbound (toward Bayfield and Durango) during nighttime closure times. Eastbound travel (toward Pagosa Springs) will not be allowed, as the closure area is just east of the intersection. 

During the nighttime closures, motorists seeking eastbound/westbound access on U.S. 160 are advised to arrive at the closure point before 9 p.m. Otherwise, travelers may consider an alternate southern route via U.S. highways 84, 64 and 550, through New Mexico. A detour at the work zone is not available. Additionally, vehicles are not permitted to stop or wait overnight on U.S. 160 while the highway is closed. 

“Closing U.S. 160 is necessary to set the wildlife overpass structure into place,” said Julie Constan, CDOT southwest regional transportation director. “Large precast concrete arches will be placed over the roadway. Keeping the traveling public safe during these crane operations is a priority and dictates the need for the closure.”

Wildlife-vehicle collisions make up more than 60 percent of crashes along this stretch of highway. The $11.3 million project is expected to reduce those collisions by at least 80-90 percent, potentially mirroring success rates of other wildlife mitigation projects in Colorado. The project is expected to conclude in late fall.

Traffic impacts

Nighttime work: From 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., Monday through Friday, Sept. 13-17 (for five nights) motorists can expect a full shutdown of U.S. 160. Alternate routes via southern New Mexico highways are advised during this timeframe. No detour for passenger or commercial traffic is available. Motorists are not allowed to park and wait along the highway overnight. The project team has coordinated with area agencies to ensure law enforcement and medical vehicles have emergency access if needed. 

Daytime work: Daytime work will not take place during the closure. Daytime construction activity will resume on Sept. 20, weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. A temporary signal will be in place 24/7, reducing vehicles to a single lane and alternating traffic intermittently in either direction. Motorists can expect short delays. Speeds are reduced to 30 mph in the work zone. 

Project milestones

• More than three-fourths of the wildlife fencing is completed. 

• Paving of the Colo. 151 and U.S. 160 intersection is completed and a deer guard installed.

• The south side of the underpass is completed, with the north side being set in the next two weeks.

• Paving and widening of the highway is completed from the west end of Colo. 151 in the eastbound lanes. 

Stay informed on U.S. 160 wildlife crossings 

The public is encouraged to sign up for email updates or access information through the following resources: 

• Project Hotline: (970) 903-4004.

• Project Email: [email protected]

• Website: www.codot.gov/projects/us160-wildlife-crossing.

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts, anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:

• Road conditions and travel information: www.COtrip.org. 

• Sign up for project or travel alerts: bit.ly/COalerts.

• See scheduled lane closures: codot.gov/travel/scheduled-lane-closures.html. 

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