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Breaking news; as of late this afternoon, Aug. 2 the Colorado Dept. of Transportation has canceled the planned closure today of U.S. 285 at Fairplay for a long-planned bridge repair.

The news of the impedning project couldn’t have been more unwelcome, especially given the many road closures around the state due to wildfire burn area mudslides.  With the 14,000-foot Continental Divide a formidable barrier between the eastern and western portions of this country, there are not many east-west, west-east routes to cross it.

Road closure image courtesy of CDOT

Original news story: The Colorado Dept. of Transportation (CDOT) projects a three-month full closure of U.S. 285 south of Fairplay beginning today, Aug. 2, continuing for the next three months. CDOT crews will be replacing a bridge over the South Fork of the South Platte River. (Why this couldn’t happen during CDOT’s lengthy closures to add passing lanes south of Fairplay over the past two years isn’t known.)

CDOT has recommended a detour around the closure using U.S. 9 and U.S. 24. But even those routes now have additional construction crews and shoulder or lane closures that are related to the project, including one on U.S. 9 at milepost 63.

That doesn’t even take into account the current natural disaster closures related to the massive mudslides currently shutting down I-70 through Glenwood Canyon.  There have been smaller ones on several routes, including U.S. 6, and U.S. 285 over Poncha Pass.

This is by far not the only road construction underway in Colorado: Another large construction project is ongoing on U.S. 50 west of Gunnison in Little Blue Creek Canyon. Currently, the road is open for alternating, single-lane traffic three times each day during the week, Monday through Friday and is entirely open each weekend, starting at 5:30 p.m.

6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

CDOT is suggesting alternate routes (the I-70 traffic is being routed north through Steamboat Springs and Craig), or southbound (U.S. 24 to U.S. 285 in Johnson Village to U.S. 50) but be aware that all of them will add substantial time to your trip.