UPDATE: New sinkhole picture shows danger posed to highway

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Sinkhole closes Hwy. 24 near Leadville, Colo. Photo: Stuart Gardner, CDOT

Sinkhole closes Hwy. 24 near Leadville, Colo. Photo: Stuart Gardner, CDOT

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LEADVILLE, Colo. —  A new picture of the sinkhole that closed U.S. Highway 24 north of Leadville gives a new look at the danger it poses to the road.

CDOT has updated the information about which portions of Highway 24  are closed. Officials now say the highway is not closed between Red Cliff (mile marker 153) and Leadville (mile marker 175), but from the top of Tennessee Pass near the actual sinkhole at mile marker 165 to Leadville.

Travelers hoping to visit Camp Hale, which is just south of Red Cliff, will be able to do so with this updated closure. The detour route is still State Highway 91, which is still expected to add about one hour to motorists attempting to access Leadville from eastbound I-70.

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EAGLE/LAKE COUNTIES, Colo. — A washout and sinkhole forced the Colorado Deptartment of Transportation to close U.S. Highway 24 north of Leadville to all traffic Tuesday afternoon.

The sinkhole opened up Monday on the side of the road after a heavy rainstorm moved through the area.

The Colorado Department of Transportation first put the closure in place at mile marker 165 south of Red Cliff Monday after crews took a closer look at the sinkhole.

They eventually were able to make repairs to the point where they felt it was safe to open one lane of the highway. That decision changed after further evaluation.

“After thorough examinations of the sinkhole yesterday involving a variety of engineers, maintenance supervisors, and geological experts, it was determined that the sinkhole is actually a century-old railroad tunnel that collapsed decades ago,” a statement from CDOT says.

“The depth of the hole is currently estimated to be about 100 feet, and since the depths reach so far into the earth, much of the soil was still frozen until very recently. When the soil thawed, the hole was exposed.”

All motorists will be detoured to State Highway 91. CDOT doesn’t know how long the stretch of U.S. 24 will be closed.

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