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Truckers face lengthy detours after Colorado US 50 bridge closed indefinitely due to ‘cracking’

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The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) closed a major bridge until further notice due to safety concerns.

The Blue Mesa Bridge that carries US Highway 50 west of Gunnison has been closed due to safety concerns as of the afternoon of April 18, officials say. The closure is between US 50 mile marker 131 (intersection with Colorado Highway 92) and mile marker 138, between Gunnison and Montrose.

CDOT says that it was encouraged by the Federal Highway Administration to close the bridge after a defect or “cracking” was observed near mile marker 136.3 during an inspection.

There is no estimated time for the bridge to reopen, but CDOT is exploring temporary and permanent fixes.

While the bridge is closed, truckers and motorists will face time-consuming detours.

Here’s what CDOT said:

This closure will create a significant detour for commuters between Montrose and Gunnison. The recommended detour route for through traffic is via Interstate 70 to the north or US 160 to the south. CDOT understands the inconvenience that this creates and is rapidly evaluating options to improve options for residents, businesses, and travelers on the western slope. The northern route is 354 miles and requires approximately six hours of travel time. The southern route is 331 miles and requires nearly 7 hours of travel time. CDOT and local partners are exploring whether it is feasible at this point in the season to clear local seasonal routes that may be able to significantly reduce the detour time for local travelers. 

Be sure to visit COtrip.org for the most up-to-date travel information.

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