I am writing concerning the latest closure at Red Mountain Pass due to a rock slide.
Three years ago this coming March, we were heading south back to Durango. At this exact spot on U.S. Highway 550 – a section of road I will never forget – huge, blue ice boulders fell, blocking the road and landing right in front of the car we were following. Thankfully, that driver had that narrow section of road within his vision – unlike tourists gazing at the beauty of the area – and just cleared those huge ice boulders. Those passengers exited their vehicle due to being right at that narrow, dripping-type waterfall spot. We turned around at that narrow, dangerous spot and made the journey through Telluride, returning to Durango several hours later.
Still today, as a professional driver with a clear commercial driver’s license, I know this site is an accident waiting to happen. I avoid that area like the plague – never to travel through there during winter because of the continued serious concern of death to any driver. CDOT should blueprint plans to redirect traffic to facilitate a tunnel through this dangerous area. As rust never sleeps, danger awaits any driver there – especially those with loved ones aboard passing through “hell’s straightaway.”
This area is a safety hazard, and money would be well spent for reconstruction at any cost.