Going up?

Going up?

Don’t blow a fuse this Fourth of July driving from Durango to Silverton. As road construction continues on U.S. Highway 550 north of Molas Pass, drivers should expect delays over the Fourth of July weekend.

Although construction on the one-lane section will be suspended Fri., June 30 – Tues., July 4, special traffic control measures (read: stop/go lights) will be in place for much of the extended five-day weekend. Seven-minute delays can be expected traveling in either direction. 

However, on the Fourth, flagging crews will be on hand to assist with fireworks and other evening event traffic in Silverton. Visitors entering and leaving Silverton should anticipate significant delays as hundreds of vehicles pass through the one-lane bottleneck. Motorists are also advised to avoid traveling from Durango to Silverton, and points north, on HWY 550 between 9 p.m. - midnight on July 4 to ease congestion and allow easier flow for southbound traffic.

The construction is being done by the Colorado Department of Transportation and contractor Rock & Co. to replace under-highway retaining walls, aka crib walls, on a quarter-mile stretch between Molas and Silverton.

The CSP, Town of Silverton and San Juan County also remind the public that there will be a heavy law enforcement presence in the area over the weekend. Visitors are urged to drive safely, mind their manners, pick up after theselves, and not drink and drive.

Visit www.codot.gov/projects/us-550-molas-pass-cribwalls for more information.

And speaking of good behavior this Fourth of July, Roman candle fights with the family might not be the best way to celebrate. With tinder dry vegetation, La Plata County has enacted Stage 1 fire restrictions on open burning, burn barrels and agricultural burning on unincorporated private and state land south of Highway 160.

“We had good moisture through the winter and spring that has led to dense ground fuels,” La Plata County Director of Emergency Management Butch Knowlton said. “Those grasses and smaller fuels have now dried and created conditions that allow for rapid fire development.”

Charcoal fires are allowed in suitable containers, as are gas grills at private residences or fires in designated campground pits with protective grates. Fires must not be left unattended and must be fully extinguished. Campfires, wood-burning stoves or any type of charcoal grills or open fires in undeveloped areas are prohibited.

The county ban, unfortunately, also includes fireworks. Yes, that includes sparklers.