Mitigating avalanches no easy task on San Juan Skyway

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Mitigating avalanches no easy task on San Juan Skyway

From Durango to Ouray, nearly 100 snowslide paths could hit highway
The U.S. Highway 550 corridor from Coal Bank Pass to Ouray is known as the most avalanche-prone road in the Lower 48, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. So far this winter, the Colorado Department of Transportation has spent more than $300,000 on operations on Red Mountain Pass.

Mitigating avalanches no easy task on San Juan Skyway

The U.S. Highway 550 corridor from Coal Bank Pass to Ouray is known as the most avalanche-prone road in the Lower 48, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. So far this winter, the Colorado Department of Transportation has spent more than $300,000 on operations on Red Mountain Pass.

Mitigating avalanches no easy task on San Juan Skyway

A story published March 8, 1992, in The Durango Herald describes how Daniel Jaramillo, a snowplow driver, unburied himself and made his way to safety after being swept off the road by an avalanche. “Would you please call my wife and my kids and let them know I’m OK?” he said.

Mitigating avalanches no easy task on San Juan Skyway

Paul Wilson, maintenance foreman and supervisor of Coal Bank, Molas and Red Mountain pass operations, drives Red Mountain Pass last week. CDOT has patrol crews stationed in Ouray, Silverton and near Purgatory Resort.

Mitigating avalanches no easy task on San Juan Skyway

There are nearly 100 avalanche paths that could hit U.S. Highway 550 from Coal Bank Pass to Ouray. This map shows the avalanche paths over Red Mountain Pass.

Mitigating avalanches no easy task on San Juan Skyway

The Colorado Department of Transportation has spent more than $300,000 so far this winter on operations on Red Mountain Pass. Most of that is spent on sanding the road.
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