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Truckers urged to use ‘extreme caution’ during two month runaway ramp closure in Colorado, expect brake checks

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The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will close a runaway truck ramp on Monarch Pass to allow crews to make emergency repairs.

CDOT Asks Truckers to Use Extra Care on Monarch Pass Through Late October

Starting on September 12, CDOT has asked truckers to “use extreme caution” when traveling on US Highway 50 Monarch Pass because the only eastbound runaway truck ramp will be closed for repairs.

The ramp is located at mile marker 204, four miles east of the pass summit. Monarch Pass is located on US 50 between Sargents and Poncha Springs, approximately 47 miles east of Gunnison.

The runaway truck ramp will be inoperable for the entire construction period, lasting through late October 2022.

“This particular runaway truck ramp has been utilized approximately 2-3 times per year over the past five years. So, it is imperative to not only focus on a permanent repair but also educate semi-truck drivers that it will not be operable and precautionary safety measures should be taken,” Julie Constan, Region 5 Transportation Director.

Colorado Troopers to Ramp Up Patrols

During the runaway ramp closure, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) will be increasing patrols in Monarch Pass. Truckers should expect to see intermittent brake inspections and safety checks of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) near the summit (just east of MP 199) to warn truck drivers of the ramp closure.

CDOT says that increased safety checks will begin on Tuesday, September 6.

“Safety checks will help ensure big rigs have functioning brakes, inform truck drivers of the locations of tight turns on the pass, and educate them about the importance of downshifting and maintaining a low speed,” CDOT said in a travel advisory.

Speed Limit Will Be Reduced For Safety

According to CDOT, the speed limit for eastbound traffic will be reduced to 25 m.p.h. CDOT urges commercial truck drivers and passenger vehicle drivers to use extreme caution when traveling eastbound on the east side of the pass. Most work will take place off of the highway, with only limited traffic stops to accommodate periodic movement of equipment or materials.

Crews to Make Permanent Repairs to Runaway Ramp Sinkhole

The repairs to the ramp are necessary due to a a sinkhole which developed due to a failed culvert. Crews performed a temporary repair to fix the problem earlier this summer.

During the fall ramp closure, crews will perform a permanent repair to the ramp by replacing the existing corrugated metal pipe that conveys the South Arkansas River under the truck ramp.

“This permanent repair will add to the resilience of the highway corridor by prolonging the life of the truck ramp structure and improving safety for semi-truck drivers,” Julie Constan, Region 5 Transportation Director.

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