CDOT begins rock scaling after slide near McClure Pass on Highway 133

By Real Aspen
May 6, 2013
Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) rockfall contractor Yenter Companies begins rock scaling Monday, May 6, on SH 133 south of McClure Pass (mile point 29, just north of Paonia Reservoir). This work is in response to a rockfall incident that happened Sunday, May 5.

At 9:30 a.m. on Sunday CDOT closed SH 133 about 13 miles south of McClure Pass summit after several large rocks came down onto the highway and into the ditch. CDOT rockfall specialists arrived on scene, along with experts from Yenter Companies.

About seven or eight large rocks came down, with a cumulative measurement of 120-feet long by 50-feet wide by 20-feet tall. The biggest rocks measured about the size of a dump truck (30' by 15' by 10') and another was about 20' by 20' by 10'. There is also damage to the roadway; at least one of the rocks caused a depression in the pavement that is about 2' deep by 12' long by 10' wide.

Yenter will be scaling rocks from the hillside today and tomorrow, and likely Wednesday as well. Scaling consists of climbing the hillside, anchored by safety ropes and prying some of the rocks loose (where possible) with pry bars. Additional scaling will be done with the use of air bags inserted behind loose rock, inflated until the rock breaks free.

Once it is determined that the hillside is stable, crews will blast rock on the roadway and haul it away. It is possible this could happen Wednesday or Thursday—all work is expected to last at least through this Friday.

The closure barricades are at MP 28 on the south side and MP 29.5 on the north. Motorists from the south attempting to get from Paonia to Carbondale, Glenwood or Aspen will need to detour onto SH 92, SH 65, I-70 and the SH 82 - a detour of about 140 miles. (Motorists from the north will use this detour in reverse).

CDOT will post updates on this closure at www.cotrip.org (see “Travel Alerts”).


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