U.S. 491 has reopened north of Cortez following a closure due to adverse weather and hazardous driving conditions.
Weather conditions have improved, and snowplow crews have sanded and plowed to allow safe travel by the public, said Lisa Schwantes, communications manager for the Colorado Department of Transportation.
High winds contributed to a ground blizzard that created low visibility and drifting snow on icy snowpacked roads, she said. The road was closed around 11 a.m. from mile marker 35 to mile marker 64. It reopened around 12:30 p.m.
Just before the road closure, a crash involving a semitrailer and a pickup truck occurred around 10:40 a.m. on U.S. 491 near Lewis. It occurred within the portion of the road that was closed, further complicating matters.
The crash backed up traffic in both directions. The driver of the pickup truck was injured, according to a Colorado State Patrol trooper at the scene.
The crash, weather conditions and road closure were delaying traffic in both directions. Southbound drivers on U.S. 491 were being stopped at Colorado Highway 141 north of Dove Creek, and northbound drivers were being turned back at Colorado Highway 184.
A Colorado State Patrol trooper on scene said the southbound semitrailer jackknifed about 10:40 a.m. and collided with the northbound pickup.
Multiple agencies responded to the crash, including the Colorado State Patrol, Montezuma County Sheriff, Southwest Memorial Hospital ambulance and local fire districts.
Because of the strong winds and blowing snow, Dove Creek schools announced on Facebook that classes would dismiss early, with buses running at 1 p.m. The school said it would contact parents by phone before releasing students, and keep students at school if parents could not be reached.