Dillon Dam Road closed through Friday for rockfall mitigation
DILLON — Dillon Dam Road is often closed during winter because of adverse conditions and icy asphalt. But Summit County government has announced the road will be closed to traffic this week for a very different reason: to prevent people from getting hit by rocks.
The road between Frisco and Dillon, which runs along the top of Dillon Dam, will be closed through the end of the day Friday, Nov. 15, to perform rockfall mitigation work on the cliffside overlooking the west end of the road.
Summit County Road & Bridge Director Robert Jacobs said a contractor crew will be working to clear loose rocks from the cliff face overlooking the Denver Water facility and spillway.
“That cliff has some chain-link fencing for some rockfall mitigation, but it hasn’t been mitigated in a long time,” Jacobs said. “We used to do it on an annual basis, but it’s been a number of years, probably five years, since we’ve had someone out there to do mitigation.”
Jacobs said loose rocks — big and small — have fallen on the road before but have not caused any injuries. The rockfall usually occurs in spring, and county crews clear it off.
“Obviously, the biggest concern is injuries to motorists,” Jacobs said. “It’s possible for grave injury to people or damage to cars. People call and report rocks like they’re going to fall all the time.”
Jacobs said it might have been possible to do mitigation work in the morning and evening while having the road open during the day. However, that would require moving a concrete “jersey barrier” away and toward the cliff twice a day, with each move costing about half a day’s worth of time and productivity.
Instead, Jacobs said the county opted to close the road for a week while shoulder season continues and traffic is relatively low. That also maintains safety for crew members and motorists.
As far as the fencing keeping rocks from falling onto the road, Jacobs said the contractor will evaluate the fences and recommend some repairs while focusing on rock removal. Even if the contractor recommends repairs, Jacobs said the county doesn’t have the money to work on it this year.
While the mitigation work is ongoing, traffic will need to use Interstate 70 or Swan Mountain Road as detours.
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