$2 Million Rockfall Project Underway at McClure Pass
KREX News Room
PITKIN COUNTY, Colo.- The Colorado Department of Transportation has designated millions of dollars for rockfall projects across the state.
One of those started this month in Pitkin County, to help make the popular McClure Pass free of rockslides through the colder months.
The changing of the seasons is bringing many drivers to the already busy McClure Pass, which means it's more important than ever to keep the roadway safe.
"We're doing this so we can alleviate any rockfall, help the state out with any detrimental rocks that come down," said Brandon Manahan, rockfall superintendent for TK Construction.
"They trek their way up the hill and tie off to what they can as far as trees go up there and start scaling away," said Manahan.
Manahan and his team are working on breaking off potentially hazardous rocks before they have a chance to fall onto the road.
"Moisture will get in there behind the rocks and especially the frost that'll build up and ... it expands, obviously it'll push these rocks off," said Manahan.
That can be dangerous not only for travelers, but also homes that are below the mountain.
"We had plenty that had gone down this gully and it's a danger for sure," said Manahan.
A $2 million grant from CDOT made it possible for the project to happen; workers can knock off even the biggest boulders using heavy duty airbags.
Construction officials say the project should be wrapped up by April 2013.
One lane at McClure Pass will remain open during the project, although crews are halting traffic in each direction for 20-minute increments to allow the team to break rocks off the mountain.