WOLF CREEK— In May, CDOT officials planned two projects along Highway 160 on Wolf Creek Pass to enhance safety for those who travel through the area in hopes of minimizing accidents. According to an update provided by the CDOT Region 5 communications manager, the projects will be complete by the end of October/beginning of November.
This sign upgrade and safety-improvement project began in early June and involves installation of several safety features (barrier, signage and new striping) on US 160 Wolf Creek Pass. The various work areas lie between mile points (MP) 158, near the Treasure Falls parking area at the western base of the pass and MP 173, about five miles east of the ski area. This safety-improvement project is scheduled for completion the end of this month (September) or early October. This is a $1.66 million project contracted to Structures Inc.
The new large, fixed overhead diagrammatic signs showing a hairpin curve and “YOU ARE HERE” were just installed last week at mile marker 166 near the summit, on the west side and mile marker 163 located two miles from the hairpin turn and the scenic overlook.
There will be several signs placed along the highway including a new static sign warning traffic before their descent on the west side of the pass. The first sign will state, “WOLF CREEK PASS, STEEP GRADES AHEAD, TRUCKS USE LOW GEAR”, another sign will say “STEEP GRADES 3 MILES AHEAD” and the project will include an additional concrete safety barrier at the entrance to the scenic overlook, re-setting eastbound static overhead sign “STEEP GRADE, WINDING ROAD NEXT 9 MILES”, additional signage above two existing truck ramp signs (“RUNAWAY TRUCK RAMP”) will be installed; these additional signs will be dynamic LED signs that flash “USE TRUCK RAMP” if a truck is going too fast as well as new striping from Treasure Falls to the summit of Wolf Creek Pass and new asphalt overlay in the vicinity of the scenic overlook/hairpin curve.
The US 160 Treasure Falls Resurfacing Project, which started in April and is scheduled for completion in October, involves making major improvements to a 14-mile stretch of US Highway 160 within Archuleta and Mineral counties. The project extends from US Highway 84 (near the east end of Pagosa Springs) moving east to the Treasure Falls parking area, between mile markers 144 and 158.
This week crews are working on the top layer of paving, as well as starting shouldering work by improving and leveling the side of the roadway. The project also includes upgrading guardrails, making improvements to three bridges (including new bridge rail, resurfacing, waterproofing and one expansion joint repair), patching and/or milling and resurfacing damaged sections of roadway, widening truck chain station areas, making embankment, culvert and ditch improvements. This highway resurfacing was contracted to A & S Construction for $7.5 million.
The west side of Wolf Creek Pass continues to be the location of several vehicle accidents, and CDOT officials hope enhancing signage along the highway will help warn travelers of their speed, encouraging them to slow down. The road is deceptive to many who travel the pass, appearing smooth and easy to negotiate, which is not the case. CDOT officials continue to urge drivers to use caution when traveling along Highway 160 and to be aware of their speeds while descending the west side of the pass.