Spring mudslides close Hwy. 133 | AspenTimes.com

Spring mudslides close Hwy. 133

Aspen Times Staff Report

One sure sign of spring appeared Tuesday when mudslides periodically closed Highway 133 north of Redstone.

Crews with the Colorado Department of Transportation did their best to keep the road open, but mud kept oozing down the slopes and blocking the lanes.

“Every time CDOT was able to remove the mud another slide occurred,” said Trooper Eric Ruhl of the Colorado State Patrol.

Slides were reported around noon and signs posted on Highway 82 warned motorists that the road was closed.

The trouble area was between mile 53.5 and 54, a couple of miles north of Redstone, according to authorities. Mudslides are a common occurrence there in spring and during summer downpours.

Del French, former CDOT maintenance supervisor for this area, once said it was more common to have a year when the road was closed at least once by slides in that area than a year when it wasn’t.

The soil was definitely saturated sufficiently for a slide yesterday after steady rain Monday, snow Tuesday morning and a rain/snow mix throughout Tuesday – all on top of April’s above-normal precipitation.

A worker at the Avalanche Ranch bed and breakfast and antiques store said a couple of motorists pulled into the shop early Tuesday afternoon when they were turned around because of the closure. Road crews had told them to try again in half an hour, she said.

By mid-afternoon, traffic was flowing again, at least in one direction at a time. Crews would take traffic headed in one direction through the slide area, then accompany traffic headed the other direction. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office was reporting 10- to 15-minute delays for motorists yesterday afternoon.

Both lanes were sometimes closed to give the crew a chance to clear more debris.

Authorities said CDOT planned to keep the road partially open when traffic became heavier with commuters returning home to Redstone, Marble and even Paonia from Aspen and Carbondale.

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