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Photos: Red Mountain Pass finally reopens, but rock slide fix only temporary

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Update, 9:58 a.m. January 24: Earlier this week, we shared photos and videos of the efforts to reopen U.S. Highway 550 over Red Mountain Pass after a rock slab the size of a football field tumbled from a nearby cliff; see our previous coverage below. It's been nearly two weeks since the closure was put in place, and the Colorado Department of Transportation reveals that it'll remain off-limits at least through the weekend, and perhaps longer. Here are the latest details, including new photos.

According to CDOT, personnel made progress yesterday scaling more loose rock from an entire field of the stuff and drilling rock anchors to hold netting in place that's intended to restrain more stones from falling.

As we noted in our previous coverage, at least 46 nets are expected to be installed, with helicopters used to hoist them and workers on the cliffs to secure them in place. Not only will crew members be located high above the roadway, but they're have to do their jobs at severe angles, convincing us that whatever they're paid, it's not nearly enough.

No date for the closure's end has been announced, but CDOT staffers expect the work to continue through the weekend.

Here are the most recent pics from the scene, featuring CDOT captions. They're followed by our earlier report.

Continue to see our previous coverage of efforts to reopen Red Mountain Pass, including additional photos and videos.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts