Highway 24 shut down as Tennessee Pass sinkhole revealed to be century-old railroad tunnel

By Real Vail
July 10, 2012
The sinkhole that opened up Monday along U.S. Highway 24 south of Red Cliff near Tennessee Pass is a century-old railroad tunnel that collapsed decades ago and is reportedly 100 feet deep. Highway officials have shut the highway down in both directions while crews work to stabilize the situation. Here's the full CDOT press release:

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has completely closed US 24 in both directions to all traffic, including local, north of Leadville at mile marker 165 south of Red Cliff.

At this time, CDOT engineers have determined that it would be unsafe to keep the highway open, so all motorists will be detoured to State Highway 91. Crews had marked and barricaded the sinkhole from the highway, but after continued evaluation of the area, were concerned that the sinkhole could expand and did not want to risk lives to keep the highway open. At this time, there is no estimated date of reopening, and the detour will be in place 24/7.

After thorough examinations of the sinkhole yesterday involving a variety of engineers, maintenance supervisors, and geological experts, it was determined that the sinkhole is actually a century-old railroad tunnel that collapsed decades ago. The depth of the hole is currently estimated to be about 100 feet, and since the depths reach so far into the earth, much of the soil was still frozen until very recently. When the soil thawed, the hole was exposed.

To receive real-time updates about road conditions in your area, visit www.coloradodot.info and click on the green cell phone icon in the upper right hand corner of the page. Updates are also available via Twitter @coloradodot.

Editor's note: CDOT send the following clarification on Wednesday morning: The full stretch of US 24 is not closed between Red Cliff (mile marker 153) and Leadville (mile marker 175), but only at the top of Tennessee Pass near the sinkhole at mile marker 165.

Some travelers will want to visit Camp Hale (just south of Red Cliff) and other areas off local roads. They will be able to do so. Again, the detour route is along SH 91, which could add about one hour for motorists attempting to access Leadville from eastbound I-70.

comments: 1 Comment on "Highway 24 shut down as Tennessee Pass sinkhole revealed to be century-old railroad tunnel"

leadvillian – July 10, 2012, at 6:52 p.m.

The sink hole is located a few hundred yards west of Tennessee Pass and Ski Cooper. Who comes up with these names?

Comment Form Info  Comment Information
Real Aspen encourages you to post comments on our articles and blogs. Logged in email is required for monitoring purposes. Your email will not be published and will not be distributed to any third-party. Abusive, obscene, profane, threatening, libelous or defamatory comments are prohibited. By posting a comment, you agree to this policy and our terms of use. To report an abusive posting, please contact us.

To make a comment, please log in or create an account. This helps us prevent spam and other malicious attacks.

Please log in to comment


Create a user account to comment

Snow Report

  24hr snow mid dpth snow cond.
A-Basin n/a n/a
Aspen n/a n/a closed
BC n/a n/a closed
Breckenridge n/a n/a closed
Buttermilk n/a n/a closed
Copper n/a n/a closed
Crest. Butte n/a n/a closed
Eldora n/a n/a closed
Heavenly n/a n/a closed
Highlands n/a n/a
Howelsen n/a n/a closed
Keystone n/a n/a closed
Kirkwood n/a n/a closed
Loveland n/a n/a
Monarch n/a n/a closed
Northstar n/a n/a closed
Powderhorn n/a n/a closed
Purgatory n/a n/a closed
Silverton n/a n/a closed
Ski Cooper n/a n/a closed
Ski Granby n/a n/a closed
Snowmass n/a n/a closed
Steamboat n/a n/a closed
Sunlight n/a n/a closed
Telluride n/a n/a closed
Vail n/a n/a closed
WinterPark n/a n/a closed
Wolf Creek n/a n/a closed
More Weather Reports
Vail powder day snow snake
Airing it out at Crested Butte
Feb. 17, 2011 Surprise 14 inches of Fresh Powder