McClure Pass on Colo. Highway 133 has been closed since about 9:30 a.m. Sunday due to a large rockslide blocking the highway just north of Paonia Reservoir.
Colorado Department of Transportation officials expect the highway to be closed at least until Friday as contractor Yenter Companies scales rock at the site and clears debris from the highway.
CDOT closed Colo. 133 about 13 miles south of McClure Pass summit on Sunday after several large rocks came down onto the highway and into the ditch.
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 feet by 15 feet by 10 feet — and another was about 20 feet by 20 feet by 10 feet.
The slide also damaged the roadway, according to CDOT. At least one of the rocks caused a depression in the pavement that is about 2 feet deep by 12 feet long by 10 feet wide.
Yenter was planning to scale rocks from the hillside Monday and Tuesday, 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 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 Milepost 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 Colo. Highway 92, Colo. Highway 65, I-70 and Colo. Highway 82, a detour of about 140 miles. Motorists from the north may use this detour in reverse.
CDOT will post updates on this closure at www.cotrip.org (see “Travel Alerts”).