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Clear Creek Canyon Closed
Submitted By: John McNamee on May 1, 2007

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The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has closed U.S. 6 through Clear Creek Canyon for an asphalt paving project that includes rotomilling, installation of centerline and shoulder rumble strips and striping.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, April 30, U.S. 6 will be closed to all traffic between State Highways (SH) 93/58 in Golden and SH 119. The highway will remain closed until 2 p.m. on Friday, May 4. U.S. 6 will remain open through the weekend and close again at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 7, reopening at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 11.

The project includes paving three pull-outs and that phase is scheduled during the week of May 21. U.S 6 will be open to traffic but shoulder paving operations will require occasional, short traffic stops while flaggers alternate traffic through the work zone. The project is scheduled for completion by Thursday, May 24.

Traffic information about this or other CDOT projects is on the website or by calling 511 statewide, (303) 639-1111 in the Denver area or (877) 315-ROAD elsewhere in Colorado.

REMINDER: Recreational traffic is restricted from using Clear Creek Canyon between the SH 58/93 junction and SH 119 during project hours to maintain public safety. This restriction includes bicyclists, hikers and rafters.

See Cdot for up to date information.

Comments on Clear Creek Canyon Closed Add Comment
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 22, 2007
By Buff Johnson
May 1, 2007
I guess the main thing is to get a fresh coat on right before all the major rock mitigation. CDOT. Have a Nice Day!
By Richard M. Wright
From: Lakewood, CO
May 1, 2007
CDOT road hazard mitigation is misguided at best. The massive scarring of Colorado's mountain sides is unnecessary, damaging, and ecologically irreversible. The use of steele curtains is certainly neither better nor remotely effective.

Recent articles in the Denver Post by Katy Human on Rock Slides and mitigation were interesting and informative. The second article in this series discussed mitigation efforts conducted by CDOT to prevent rock fall on Colorado's roads. The CDOT response to recent rock slides on I-70 near Idaho Springs and Georgetown and in Clear Creek Canyon have been to scale off the offending mountain sides and to erect fences, attenuators, and wire screens in the hopes that these efforts will decrease rock slide hazard in the future. Scaling itself is seriously flawed, and fences and attenuators offer minimal solutions, at best. Scaling is unlikely to provide a long term solution, it creates an environmental disaster where little vegetation is ever likely to regrow, and it creates a hideous eyesore in Colorado's mountain landscape. Furthermore, it is a process that has no evident end and is impotent to provide an effective solution to rock fall. The amount of Colorado roads running adjacent to cliffs that have not yet experienced a major slide is truly enormous and represents hundreds, if not considerably more, points where slides are likely. CDOT estimates that at least 756 such places can be identified. A casual ride through Clear Creek Canyon will identify at least a dozen points where major rock and/or mud slides are likely, or major rockfall is eminent. It is nearly impossible to scale away all of the pertinent landscape, nor is it desirable. Furthermore, scaling and attenuators offer no effective long term solution to the problem. In many places the mountains rise thousands of feet above the road bed and no amount of scaling or fencing will prevent the erosion that arises from rainfall, freeze thaw cycles, or snow load. Rocks, mud and snow will continue to slide from often great distance, and land once scaled continues to erode. A simple, elegant solution has been used for hundreds of years that protects the roads long into the future, preserves the mountain landscape, and destroys nothing. Throughout Europe, and in some places in Colorado, one can find slide sheds or slide porches that allow rocks, mud, and snow to slide off the mountain sides with impunity. The sheds are open on the down hill side allowing riders excellent view of the surrounding landscape (see the photograph of a slide shed at Ouray, Colorado). The sheds can be made to handle truly enormous loads from rocks, mud or snow. They are routinely constructed of reinforced concrete and can be made to nearly any required dimension. They are relatively inexpensive, and they can be constructed at any point in time, for example, after the roads have been built. Colorado and CDOT should find the energy, will, and modest expense to preserve the one thing that distinguishes Colorado from so much of the rest of the U.S.: our stunning mountain landscape. The methods chosen by CDOT will only ultimately provide a satisfying solution when Colorado has been scaled as flat as Iowa. We can do better than that.
By Buff Johnson
May 1, 2007
Certainly some room for improvement in this state.

There have been successful projects which use more contractor based design build. I think the problem with CDOT is budgetary & its culture is slow to accept viable options given the demands of the growing population base.

I had quoted a piece using a pilot program which has had good results (from the thread topic regarding the Clear Creek boulder that fell on the car during that huge monsoonal type storm that also washed out South of Deckers).

Discussion in the periodical was about the Poudre Canyon, wherein the FHWA designed for a polyurethane resin (PUR) to stabilize deteriorating rock. The application has potential to replace external supports such as wire mesh & rock anchors, while preserving the natural appearance of the rock mass.
From Rocky Mtn Const:

Mining technology applied to stabilize Poudre Canyon highway tunnel

The pictures unfortunately are not in the online version. This is one example.

Richard brings up the slide sheds; the problem in CCC is the roadcuts right next to/underneath unstable rock. ADSC-based input at the design phase from a company like Yenter could be ideal as to a more viable method (I don't work for Yenter). Certainly worth mentioning the I-70 corridor & I-25 @ Trinidad also challenge this state.

Pete brought up good points also about conservational concerns in another topic when dealing in roadway & geosupport in that Deckers to Westcreek washout. (Pete, I had not looked entirely at the site, but looked to me like mostly rip-rap on the shorebanks. I don't know better how to describe your concern you brought up other than the conservational oversight was not there during the reconstruction process.)

Contractors in this state have proven they can really meet any challenge the mountains offer if provided a fair & reasonable relationship. But again, we have budgetary constraints & a mgt culture with CDOT. I believe this is a big problem for this state.
By Lee Smith
May 1, 2007

This probably isn't a good year to discuss Human/Wright's issues.

By Richard M. Wright
From: Lakewood, CO
May 2, 2007
It's a cute comment, Lee. But bear in mind that there are many crags and routes close to the road or only a short way up hill that have a good chance to be erased by CDOT's scaling or curtain hanging- "The crag they close may be your own (favorite)".
By Lee Smith
May 2, 2007

I didn't mean to denigrate any of the excellent discussion on this topic. I just couldn't resist the pun. Thanks for keeping us informed.

By richard berk
From: Denver, CO
May 3, 2007
A little OT but... Back in the 80's when I lived in and climbed around Golden several things were going on that could have greatly changed CCC. One was an increase in the mining operations about 5 miles up the canyon that would have greatly increased the truck traffic there. We fought that and it was stopped (don't remember how much of getting it stopped was due to our efforts). Another was a plan to dam the canyon. Obviously that didn't happen. A third was to turn it into a State Park and close the road to traffic. Don't remember how seriously that was considered but I think they were talking about removing the asphalt and leaving the road as a gravel fire road open to bikes and hikers. I still think that would have been a great idea.

That was all pre Black Hawk/Gambling which changed everything. There was probably no chance even back then that they would have made it a park but every time I hear it's closed I can't help but hope.
By Richard M. Wright
From: Lakewood, CO
May 3, 2007
Lee, no offense taken at all. I thought the pun was cute, honestly. I think that anyone who values our landscape has a stake in how this mitigation is carried out. CDOT may have its financial hands tied to some extent, but a poor solution now does little to create a viable long term solution. The sheds I would like to see used instead have been in use in Europe for literally a hundred years, perhaps more. I have a photo shot in the Dolomites last year that shows a shed that is more than a mile long. You can see that the slope above and below is subject to constant slide and rock fall for a distance of several thousand feet above the shed. The shed is just concrete, so where it can be installed the costs are not prohibitive.
By phil broscovak
May 4, 2007
Richard, excellent and accurate post, thanx!

Another issue that impacts this is the policy of awarding State construction projects to the lowest bidder. I doubt it ever actually saves the State money what with the cost of doing it over and over.
I know I would never select a surgeon based on lowest bid. As a selection process it tends to lead to a shoddy "do the least possible to get by" attitude. Anyone who has ever been around construction has heard someone say "leave it alone it's a government job it'll do".
A lot of Colorado hiway projects are really big squanderfests.

Richard is (W)right there are better solutions. Sorry couldn't help the pun.
By Buff Johnson
May 11, 2007
JEFFERSON COUNTY – The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will need to close U.S. 6 through Clear Creek Canyon for one additional week to complete the asphalt paving project due to adverse weather that halted operations earlier this month.

Some additional work also is required to complete the project.

The closure resumes at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 14, with U.S. 6 closed to all traffic between State Highways (SH) 93/58 in Golden and SH 119. The highway will remain closed until 2 p.m. on Friday, May 18.
By Mike Pharris
From: Longmont, CO
May 21, 2007
Everybody local probably knows this now, but the road is now open.
By Buff Johnson
May 22, 2007
Here's a conference in Vail June 3-8 if any are interested:

The First North American Landslide Conference

The conference is designed to provide a stimulating forum for geoscientists, engineers, planners, economists, program managers, and other decision makers concerned with landslide hazards and their impact on North American society.

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