US 50 emergency closure

Trailhead condition requests, questions, alerts, etc.
Forum rules
  • This is a mountaineering forum, so please keep your posts on-topic. Posts do not all have to be related to the 14ers but should at least be mountaineering-related.
  • Personal attacks and confrontational behavior will result in removal from the forum at the discretion of the administrators.
  • Do not use this forum to advertise, sell photos or other products or promote a commercial website.
  • Posts will be removed at the discretion of the site administrator or moderator(s), including: Troll posts, posts pushing political views or religious beliefs, and posts with the purpose of instigating conflict within the forum.
For more details, please see the Terms of Use you agreed to when joining the forum.
User avatar
supranihilest
Posts: 774
Joined: 6/29/2015
14ers: 58  42 
13ers: 711 2 8
Trip Reports (115)
 
Contact:

Re: US 50 emergency closure

Post by supranihilest »

A friend and I drove through the eastbound 1pm opening today. We arrived around 12:40 and there were probably 100 vehicles in front of us. We were moving a few minutes after 1.

The eastbound closure is just a few feet past the turn onto Gunnison county road 26, also known as the Lake City cutoff. There were multiple CDOT vehicles and staff fully blocking 50 and multiple flaggers directing traffic onto CR-26. I don't know if there will be anyone there during closure times or how traffic is blocked during those times, possibly by just parking vehicles in front of all lanes.

CR-26 itself is smooth gravel but wouldn't be fun in heavy rain or snow. There was already some rutting and multiple construction crews along the road. It's open for one way traffic in 30 minute chunks each direction four times per day. There are many side roads that don't lead anywhere but the main road is easy to follow. I don't know what happens if you exit CR-26 and then try to get back on during a closure period.

It took us 35-40 minutes to reach state highway 149 and an hour total from the time we started moving to reach Gunnison. On SH-149 traffic in both directions was blocked, presumably until CR-26 is closed again. If you're on SH-149 and staying on 149 you just have to sit there, you obviously can't pass with traffic from 26 going in both directions. There were two teams of flaggers directing traffic off 26 to either Gunnison or Lake City.

I'll update again when I go back through westbound in a few days.
User avatar
greenonion
Posts: 1953
Joined: 10/3/2012
14ers: 50  1 
13ers: 2
Trip Reports (0)
 

Re: US 50 emergency closure

Post by greenonion »

supranihilest wrote: Fri May 03, 2024 7:16 pm A friend and I drove through the eastbound 1pm opening today. We arrived around 12:40 and there were probably 100 vehicles in front of us. We were moving a few minutes after 1.

The eastbound closure is just a few feet past the turn onto Gunnison county road 26, also known as the Lake City cutoff. There were multiple CDOT vehicles and staff fully blocking 50 and multiple flaggers directing traffic onto CR-26. I don't know if there will be anyone there during closure times or how traffic is blocked during those times, possibly by just parking vehicles in front of all lanes.

CR-26 itself is smooth gravel but wouldn't be fun in heavy rain or snow. There was already some rutting and multiple construction crews along the road. It's open for one way traffic in 30 minute chunks each direction four times per day. There are many side roads that don't lead anywhere but the main road is easy to follow. I don't know what happens if you exit CR-26 and then try to get back on during a closure period.

It took us 35-40 minutes to reach state highway 149 and an hour total from the time we started moving to reach Gunnison. On SH-149 traffic in both directions was blocked, presumably until CR-26 is closed again. If you're on SH-149 and staying on 149 you just have to sit there, you obviously can't pass with traffic from 26 going in both directions. There were two teams of flaggers directing traffic off 26 to either Gunnison or Lake City.

I'll update again when I go back through westbound in a few days.
Excellent details on this situation and detour, Ben. Thanks very much.
User avatar
Will_E
Posts: 423
Joined: 8/13/2018
14ers: 58  58 
13ers: 244 37
Trip Reports (22)
 

Re: US 50 emergency closure

Post by Will_E »

I’m curious if you can do the bypass after hours after the crews have gone home for the day, say 6 or 7pm or later.
User avatar
gb
Posts: 999
Joined: 12/12/2006
14ers: 56  54  6 
13ers: 67 54
Trip Reports (26)
 

Re: US 50 emergency closure

Post by gb »

^^^ No, it's only open during the time slots stated.

Also, everyone should keep in mind that this detour is meant for local traffic only: "This route is intended for essential trips such as doctor's appointments, school, work, etc. It is not meant for recreational and/or non-local travel. Driver licenses and vehicle plates will not be used to determine eligibility. While CDOT's detour crews trust that drivers will honor the guidelines of the detour, they reserve the right to turn any vehicle away that is not using the detour as stated above. "
User avatar
Wentzl
Posts: 1062
Joined: 7/29/2008
14ers: 58  22 
13ers: 55
Trip Reports (49)
 

Re: US 50 emergency closure

Post by Wentzl »

Also, don't get cute and think you can use the Blue Mesa cutoff instead. They blocked that with concrete barriers.
Shorter of Breath and One Day Closer . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZXKgl8turY
User avatar
Bean
Posts: 2758
Joined: 11/2/2005
14ers: 45  45  10 
13ers: 9 4
Trip Reports (27)
 
Contact:

Re: US 50 emergency closure

Post by Bean »

Will_E wrote: Sat May 04, 2024 8:26 am I’m curious if you can do the bypass after hours after the crews have gone home for the day, say 6 or 7pm or later.
Nope, at least for now. Closures are manned with flaggers around the clock.
"There are no hard 14ers, but some are easier than others." - Scott P
http://throughpolarizedeyes.com
d_baker
Posts: 3114
Joined: 11/18/2007
14ers: 58  15 
13ers: 362 11
Trip Reports (59)
 

Re: US 50 emergency closure

Post by d_baker »

I haven't driven the Lake City cutoff before, so is it so narrow that they won't allow 2-way traffic and they need to escort?

And does anyone know if there are backups along 149 if one were driving from Gunni to Lake City?
User avatar
Wentzl
Posts: 1062
Joined: 7/29/2008
14ers: 58  22 
13ers: 55
Trip Reports (49)
 

Re: US 50 emergency closure

Post by Wentzl »

Gunnison to Lake City is clear. Traffic for the cutoff wait on the shoulder and other traffic moves right on through as usual.
Shorter of Breath and One Day Closer . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZXKgl8turY
User avatar
supranihilest
Posts: 774
Joined: 6/29/2015
14ers: 58  42 
13ers: 711 2 8
Trip Reports (115)
 
Contact:

Re: US 50 emergency closure

Post by supranihilest »

supranihilest wrote: Fri May 03, 2024 7:16 pm [Eastbound Information]
A friend and I drove through the eastbound 1pm opening today. We arrived around 12:40 and there were probably 100 vehicles in front of us. We were moving a few minutes after 1.

The eastbound closure is just a few feet past the turn onto Gunnison county road 26, also known as the Lake City cutoff. There were multiple CDOT vehicles and staff fully blocking 50 and multiple flaggers directing traffic onto CR-26. I don't know if there will be anyone there during closure times or how traffic is blocked during those times, possibly by just parking vehicles in front of all lanes.

CR-26 itself is smooth gravel but wouldn't be fun in heavy rain or snow. There was already some rutting and multiple construction crews along the road. It's open for one way traffic in 30 minute chunks each direction four times per day. There are many side roads that don't lead anywhere but the main road is easy to follow. I don't know what happens if you exit CR-26 and then try to get back on during a closure period.

It took us 35-40 minutes to reach state highway 149 and an hour total from the time we started moving to reach Gunnison. On SH-149 traffic in both directions was blocked, presumably until CR-26 is closed again. If you're on SH-149 and staying on 149 you just have to sit there, you obviously can't pass with traffic from 26 going in both directions. There were two teams of flaggers directing traffic off 26 to either Gunnison or Lake City.

I'll update again when I go back through westbound in a few days.
[Westbound Information]

I drove through the 6:30pm westbound opening last night, arriving about an hour early. My above information is basically the same in both directions.

There is ample signage stating US 50 is closed and pointing out the detour. That said, you can continue on 50 past 149 since there is recreational access beyond that junction. I'm not sure where exactly the closure is on that side but you might be able to go as far as the Dillon Pinnacles parking lot since that's immediately before the closed bridge.

Wentzl's post above mine is about half correct in that 149 is kept clear for traffic between Gunnison and Lake City but traffic is not moved to the shoulder - there isn't a shoulder to move to, it drops off into a ditch on both sides. Traffic bound for Montrose is instead queued in a single column on 26/Lake City cutoff, which is gated about .75 miles up the road. I don't know where they queue traffic if there's so much it overflows the queue on 26, they might form a second column. That's probably the primary thing to be aware of going westbound. Eastbound queuing as mentioned above is just done right on 50 since there's no traffic coming from/going to elsewhere.
User avatar
dwoodward13
Posts: 778
Joined: 3/26/2011
14ers: 58  12 
13ers: 159 6
Trip Reports (1)
 

Re: US 50 emergency closure

Post by dwoodward13 »

Partial reopening set for July 4th. Word on what exactly "partial" means will come as repairs are completed, but I would imagine no heavy vehicles and/or trailers would be allowed.

https://kdvr.com/news/local/blue-mesa-b ... n-in-july/
User avatar
climbingcue
Posts: 1017
Joined: 10/11/2011
14ers: 58  8  27 
13ers: 338 28 11
Trip Reports (0)
 

Re: US 50 emergency closure

Post by climbingcue »

Here is a good video I saw explaining the cracks on the bridge.
Consecutive months with at least one 13er or 14er, 76 months
User avatar
ECF55
Posts: 174
Joined: 8/26/2017
14ers: 8 
13ers: 4
Trip Reports (7)
 

Re: US 50 emergency closure

Post by ECF55 »

I saw the July 4th update and assumed it was open for the twelve hour period until full opening. That appears to be not the case.

"The bridge is now open in a limited capacity. A pilot car will lead small vehicles across one lane for 12 hours a day, from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Starting July 8, however, the bridge will only be open from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m."

https://www.cpr.org/2024/07/03/blue-mes ... ig-limits/

I may need to come up with a different plan in a couple weeks. :-s
Post Reply