CDOT: U.S. Highway 24 'sinkhole' repairs will take more than a month

Highway to remain closed in both directions

By Real Vail
July 13, 2012

Once again calling it a "sinkhole," Colorado highway officials this evening reported it will take more than a month, possibly longer to fix a hole that opened up this week above a collapsed century-old railroad tunnel along U.S. Highway 24 near Tennessee Pass.

State officials hope to have repair work started by the middle of next week in an expedited process meant to complete the project ahead of the Aspen to Beaver Creek Stage 4 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge on Aug. 23. But any delays could jeopardize that route.

Meanwhile, the highway will remain closed in both directions and motorists will have to use the Colorado State Highway 91 detour over Fremont Pass to Copper Mountain, then west on Interstate 70 -- adding about an hour of drive time to get to Vail and Eagle County.

Here's the full CDOT press release:

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) continues to keep US 24 closed in both directions to all traffic, including bicyclists, north of Leadville after a sinkhole opened up on the southbound shoulder of the highway this past Monday, July 9. The closure zone begins near the top of Tennessee Pass at mile marker (MM) 166 and extends south to MM 162. Crews are on site 24/7 to enforce the closure.

CDOT has begun an expedited emergency bidding process for highway repairs. Contractors have until 2 p.m. on Monday, July 16 to submit bids which will then be reviewed. CDOT is hoping to have a contractor on board late Monday or early Tuesday of next week with repairs to start shortly thereafter. At this time, repair costs are anticipated to be between $1 and $2 million, which will include repairs to stabilize the collapsed tunnel and fill the cavity under the roadway.

Repairs are estimated to take a little over a month, during which time the highway will remain closed to motorists and the detour will remain in place. Although the exact start and finish date of the project are not known at this time, CDOT is making the opening of US 24 a priority, so the contractor will be provided financial incentives for completing the project ahead of schedule, and will be sanctioned with disincentives for completing the project behind the anticipated schedule. At this time, the repairs are tentatively scheduled to be completed ahead of when the USA Pro Challenge plans to go through the area, but the schedule is subject to change based on weather, natural disasters, and other unforeseen circumstances.

All motorists, including those who live locally, must continue to use State Highway 91 as a detour. The closure point is at mile marker 165, so access to local businesses and roadways remains possible. Travelers hoping to visit Camp Hale, which is just south of Red Cliff, will be able to do so.

CDOT continues to work with state historians and is referencing its archives to build a full history of the tunnel and roadway.

To receive real-time updates about road conditions in your area, visit and click on the green cell phone icon in the upper right hand corner of the page. Updates are also available via Twitter @coloradodot and be sure to “Like” our Facebook page at

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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
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