East Animas Road reopened Wednesday after county crews were able to clear the onslaught of mud and debris slides.
The road (County Road 250) closed March 22 in the 2700 block, which has a history of debris flows during spring runoff and heavy rains.
Butch Knowlton, La Plata County’s director of the Office of Emergency Management, said the mud and silt that spilled onto the road was too wet to haul away until now.
“If we put it in a dump truck, all that mud and silt would leak out over the road,” he said.
Knowlton estimated that 400 dump truck loads were required to open the northbound and southbound lanes.
Knowlton said the recent mudslide contained the most material the county has ever hauled from East Animas Road, and the closure was the road’s longest.
While the threat of flooding from snowmelt is mostly gone, Knowlton said the risk of debris slides is not.
This spring, snowmelt has moved massive amounts of material, and if the area gets heavy rainfall, more mud, rock and debris could come down.
“Thousands of tons of material that slid down off the face of the rockslide is now parked at the toe end of the rockslide,” he said. “Now, there’s a lot of material that could be readily mobilized by heavy rain.”
The original rockslide occurred July 5, 1998, when a chunk of the upper hillside gave way, sending house-size boulders down Missionary Ridge. About 10 homes continue to be affected by runoff issues.
Knowlton said emergency officials are monitoring the weather for incoming storms that might present flood danger.