Giant Boulder Blocks Colorado Road. Then 16 Pounds of Dynamite Get Involved
Beep beep… we see you, Wile E. Coyote.
A year ago, the San Miguel Sheriff’s office in Telluride, Colorado posted a photo on Twitter of a large boulder with the caption “Large boulder the size of a small boulder is completely blocking east-bound lane Highway 145 mm78 at Silverpick Rd.” It went viral, and the public information officer was ribbed mercilessly (but mostly good-naturedly) in the Twitterverse. Yesterday, another falling rock brought the sheriff’s office back to make fun of itself with another blockage that is an even bigger boulder. (Try saying that three times fast.)
The photo from January 2020 featured a 10,000-pound rock in the middle of the lane; no word on the weight of the boulder that fell on Friday but it’s clearly several times larger. Colorado’s Department of Transportation reported last night that they had begun recovery operations to reopen the lane with plans to continue blasting on Monday to decimate the rest of the giant stone. They've already drilled holes up to six feet deep into the boulder and 16 pounds of dynamite deployed. Currently, there is a temporary light signal in place to keep one lane open.
With its latest update, Colorado DOT joined in with a little fun of its own with an update reading “the large boulder the size of a large boulder is now a large boulder the size of a smaller boulder on CO 145.” You have to like a public office that uses the hashtag #biggiesmalls when referring to a rock, especially when no one was hurt.
Colorado highways are not strangers to rockfalls like these, and most of the time it’s not difficult to resume operations. However, one particularly massive rock traveled 1,850 feet and landed hard on Colorado Highway 145 southwest of Telluride in Dolores. The boulder created an eight-foot-deep crater and tipped the scales at an estimated 8.5 million pounds. After comparing costs to blast it or reroute traffic, it turned out it was cheaper by more than $200,000 to let the rock stay and route the road around it. Now it’s a highway attraction called “Memorial Rock.” Only in Colorado, eh?
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