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MORRISON, Colo. (KDVR) — Specialty crews contracted by the Colorado Department of Transportation are starting temporary fixes on U.S. 285 where repeated rain washed out part of the highway into a steep embankment.

This section of the highway is U.S. 285 northbound, just north of Parmalee Gulch. It is built on a large embankment, where rock and soil material was filled in to bring the highway up out of the bottom of the canyon and make room for four lanes of traffic. The embankment is about 40-45 degrees steep and runoff from several days of heavy rain caused the washout.

At first the signs of the erosion, CDOT maintenance crews responded with temporary measures to prevent further damage, including a closure of the right lane on northbound U.S. 285. 

On Thursday, an emergency contractor brought crews on site to begin temporary repairs that will stabilize the ground immediately below the roadway, allowing CDOT to reopen the lane that was closed. 

“What we’re going to do is drill under the road about 30 feet and put what are called soil nails in and then put this welded wire mesh onto the facing of the gravel, and then tie the anchors into it to hold it on top,” Matt Tello, an engineering geologist with CDOT’s Geo-Hazards Program said. “Then, we’ll spray concrete on top of that to stabilize any type of erosion that would come out of the embankment.”

The repair is estimated to take six days in ideal working conditions. Delays are expected due to weather, so with that factored in CDOT is targeting to have this temporary repair complete by May 26. This work will take place Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The right lane closure on northbound U.S. 285 near Parmalee Gulch will remain in place for the duration of this repair work. 

This is considered a temporary repair. CDOT is starting the design process for a permanent repair which will take place later in the summer. Specific timeframes and details are not determined yet.