Rock slides uncommon for this time of year

Created: 06/25/2014 5:36 PM
By: Devin Neeley, KOB Eyewitness News 4

In many of Colorado’s mountain passes, rocks have been known to dislodge and fall on the road.

“It's a constant danger, you never know. You can’t control rock fall,” explains Colorado Department of Transportation Maintenance Supervisor, Robert Turner.

Some drivers on the stretch of U.S. 550 up Bondad Hill are finding out just how real the danger is.

“It was about 20 tons, well... It was about the size of my pickup,” said Turner.

The rock broke loose and came crashing down on the roadway Tuesday morning.

“Luckily nobody has been hurt, and we try to keep it safe for all the traveling public.”

Turner said they don't usually deal with big rocks falling this time of year.

“Typically no, it’s usually the freeze thaw at the end of the winter.”

The rocks are knocked loose when ice freezes in the cracks and pushes the rocks away from the rock face.

But, this time of year it is more likely because of sediment working its way into cracks and crevasses to move boulders.

CDOT spends about $9 million a year to prevent rocks falling on the roadway. They use fencing, barriers and mesh netting. But, something this size is not small enough that mitigation like that would help.

CDOT say they will keep one lane of 550 closed for the next few days just to make sure nothing else happens.

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