Red Canyon Road opens |

Red Canyon Road opens

Donna Gray

Mild weather in the past few weeks has allowed Garfield County to reopen Red Canyon Road.Hazardous winter driving conditions forced the road closure in early January. Officially known as County Road 115, the winding dirt road follows Red Canyon from Highway 82 to Spring Valley. It officially reopened Tuesday, Jan. 18, said district foreman Bobby Branham.Such winter closures are not uncommon on the switchback dirt road, which has sheer dropoffs as it winds up the side of Red Canyon a few miles south of Glenwood Springs.The county commissioners have the authority to close the road for up to 90 days. Winter conditions prompted a similar closure of Red Canyon Road last winter.In fact, the county has long realized the dangerous road needs upgrading but the price tag, in the millions of dollars, has proved prohibitive.During the closure, residents used an alternate route to Highway 82 on County Road 114, locally known as the Colorado Mountain College Road.Branham said the first rainfall in early January turned sections of the already-snowpacked road to a sheet of ice.”One area that is shaded all day had snowpack on it, and when it rained it immediately turned to ice. You couldn’t even stand up on it,” he said.County road and bridge supervisor Marv Stephens asked the commissioners to close the road on Jan. 10, saying conditions were so hazardous on the road he was reluctant to send snowplows up there. “The warmer weather has allowed us to get in there and work with a motor grader” to plow the snow and ice and apply sand, Branham said.”I hope we can keep it open,” he added. “The road has a straight dropoff. It’s one thing to go into a ditch but it’s something else to fall into the canyon.”Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext.

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