Western Colorado's Highway 50 bridge over Blue Mesa has remained closed for over a month, leaving residents on the Western Slope with few options for crossing the state. As we near the Memorial Day holiday weekend, CDOT has issued an update on the progress of bridge repairs and a timeline for how long the work may take.

Read More: Detour Options: Navigating The Colorado Highway 50 Bridge Closure

Impacting travel, tourism, and the cost of goods and services, many Western Colorado residents have been frustrated by the lack of options provided by the state. Highway 50 has provided decades of access to Blue Mesa, Curecanti National Recreation Area, and Fourmile Gulch / Dillion Pinnacles

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Highway 50 Bridge Update from CDOT

Colorado's Highway 50 bridge over Blue Mesa was not closed by officials in Gunnison or Montrose Counties, instead, it was the Federal Highway Administration. Weeks later, several large cracks in the steel along the bridge have been unveiled as the reason for the urgent closure.

During a meeting earlier this week, CDOT and Kiewit Infrastructure unveiled a plan involving two phases that could restore limited bridge access before a full reopening later in the year.

Phase 1 of Bridge Repairs

CDOT reports several large cracks along the bridge would require steel plating and several hundred bolts per plate to strengthen the bridge enough to allow emergency vehicles, and a limited number of cars (possibly 1 lane of traffic) to cross the Highway 50 bridge. If the weather cooperates, this may be completed by the 4th of July.

Read More: Grand Junction to Delta: What Highway 50 Looked Like in 1906

Phase 2 of Bridge Repairs

According to KKCO, During the CDOT meeting with Kiewit Infrastructure, Phase Two of the bridge repair was described to include a process called "Global Local Plating" which could further strengthen the bridge to the point where it could be opened in both directions by the fall, possibly October.

Coloradans who want to listen to the meetings regarding bridge inspections and repairs should follow CDOT's YouTube page.

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