Red Canyon Road near Glenwood Springs under winter closure; future of route uncertain
Red Canyon Road just south of Glenwood Springs is closed until further notice due to hazardous conditions following the recent series of winter storms.
Long term, the road will either need to be rebuilt or closed permanently, County Road and Bridge Supervisor Wyatt Keesbery said Monday.
Garfield County commissioners acted on Keesbery’s recommendation during their regular meeting Monday to extend the current closure for another 90 days due to the dangerous conditions.
“We had an event where it rained, then it froze and then we had snow fall on top of it, which made the road very icy,” Keesbery said.
The primitive, dirt road serves several properties and large-lot subdivisions on the northern end of Spring Valley and up Lookout Mountain Road (County Road 120).
Alternative access is available via Spring Valley (County Road 114) to the south near Colorado Mountain College, though many residents use Red Canyon as a more direct short-cut to and from Glenwood Springs.
Road and Bridge crews will monitor the situation, and it’s possible the road could reopen before the 90-day closure expires in early April. It could also remain closed into the spring, if conditions warrant, Keesbery said.
Red Canyon Road is a challenge to maintain even in the summer, he said, especially during wet weather, because of the steep uphill grade and narrow roadway snaking up the canyon wall from the Colorado Highway 82 intersection.
Looking ahead, the road may need to be closed permanently, unless it can be rebuilt, Keesbery said.
The original road was built using wood cribbing to create the base, which over time has been undercut by runoff and erosion, he explained.
Commission Chairman John Martin said the board would address the longer-term concerns at another time, up to and including possibly vacating the road, if necessary.
Commissioners did not offer any further thoughts on that prospect but agreed a winter closure is necessary.
*This story was revised from the original version to more accurately reflect the number of homes served by Red Canyon Road.
Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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