Guanella Pass Road To Remain Closed All Summer

Popular Road West Of Georgetown Closed Last Year After Rock Slide Risk

When the snow is finally cleared off Guanella Pass Road (County Road 381) in Clear Creek County, a section of the road will remain closed.

A one-mile section of the road was closed between Georgetown and Grant Aug. 21, 2009 after officials discovered a rock mass that could fall across the road due to instability created by above-normal precipitation last summer.

The U.S. Forest Service reported in early June 2009, “a portion of a historic landslide reactivated and a localized rockfall was observed, with tension cracking and a scarp (a steep slope or cliff, formed by erosion or faulting) noticed near the upper portion.” Official measuring devices showed recent movement of the slope above Guanella Pass Road moving at a rate of 1 to 1¼ inches a day.

According to John Bustos, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service, the mass of rock at one point in September, moved about 5 inches in only one week.

The Forest Service said as a precaution to safeguard the public, Guanella Pass Road from Clear Lake Day-Use area to Clear Lake Campground will remain closed. The Clear Lake Day Use Area, Waldorf Road and Argentine Pass via Waldorf Road and Silverdale can be accessed from Georgetown.

Clear Creek County, the United States Forest Service, the Federal Highways Administration, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Xcel Energy have been working together on how to move forward with a permanent solution to the situation. Xcel Energy has proposed a phased slope stabilization and mitigation plan. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the United States Forest Service will oversee the implementation of the plan. Construction of the stabilization plan is already under way.

The current schedule estimates the work will be completed around Sept.17, 2010, subject to weather and field conditions.

During the mitigation operations the summit of Guanella Pass, which includes Mt. Bierstadt, Silver Dollar Trail, and all places above Clear Lake Campground, can be accessed through Grant, Colorado from U.S. Highway 285 once the road opens after the winter seasonal closure Friday.

Drivers will not be able to get through to Georgetown or to Interstate 70 from U.S. Highway 285.

The previous Federal Highways Guanella Pass Road construction project continues with periodic road closures just above Georgetown on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

For additional information, visit the Clear Creek County's Web site, where officials said information will be updated.