Construction began on Monday north of Paonia to permanently repair Colorado Highway 133 at milepoint 16, which was significantly damaged after a growing sinkhole collapsed the road in May.
The repairs are taking place near Somerset, north of Paonia.
The safety closure on the highway began after the road sustained major damage in May. Over the last weekend in April, between milepoint 14 and 19, a small sinkhole developed and lane closures were put in place. Major flooding from Bear Creek early during the week of May 1 filled a culvert with debris and flooded the roadway. This eroded the roadway embankment and caused the road to collapse, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).
The road completely closed to all traffic.
Contractor Ralph L. Wadsworth began construction on a temporary bridge on May 23. The project was expedited and while this sort of bridge would usually take about four months, it opened to traffic on June 19, CDOT said.
Colorado Highway 133 significantly damaged after flooding
On Monday, crews began the work to make permanent repairs. This will start with installing water pumps to divert the water flowing through Bear Creek, which is needed to begin excavation. By mid-week, a pipe will arrive to replace the damaged culvert. Once it is replaced, the temporary bridge will be removed and prep work will begin for final paving and striping, CDOT said.
Travelers can use the temporary bridge while this work is underway. CDOT said traffic impact will be minimal. The speed limit there is 40 mph.
The permanent bridge is expected to be completed by Nov. 17.
Throughout this process, crews are ensuring the Gunnison River and Bear Creek are protected from any contamination, CDOT said.
To learn more about this project, call the information line at 970-279-3309 or email CO133CulvertRepair@gmail.com. Use COTrip.org when planning to travel around the state for the latest on closures and road conditions.