Long & winding road

If you’re thinking of driving over Highway 550 between Silverton and Ouray in the next few weeks, you’re gonna want to find a new route.

Between Sept. 13-24, Red Mountain Pass will experience lengthy closures to allow for San Miguel Power Association to clear trees and vegetation around its power lines to reduce the potential of wildfires. The work is in anticipation of a larger project to completely rebuild a power line atop Red Mountain Pass that provides a backup source of energy for Ouray County.

The project has been postponed a couple times this summer after local officials and some business owners in Ouray and Silverton complained the closures would affect travel during the height of tourist season. San Miguel Power, for its part, stressed the need for fire mitigation, especially during the drought this year.

Red Mountain Pass will not be closed during weekends or in the evenings. If you need another way around during the closure times, drivers can take the Lizard Head Pass route, via Telluride and Ridgway (which adds about an hour to your drive – hey, at least it’s scenic.)

Road closure times are as follows:

• Sept. 13-16, 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m., open from 12-1 p.m., and then closed again 1-5:30 p.m.

• Sept. 17, 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m., open from 12-1 p.m. and then closed 1-4 p.m.

• Sept. 20-24, 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m., open from 12-1 p.m. and closed 1-5:30 p.m.

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