A snowy shot of the Highway 550. The road is known for big drops and cliffs. File photo. Photo Credit: Christian Murdock; The Gazette.

A snowy shot of the Highway 550. The road is known for big drops and cliffs. File photo. Photo Credit: Christian Murdock; The Gazette.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced a "major closure" of a high mountain pass on Tuesday afternoon amid dangerous winter weather conditions.

UPDATE: As of 1:30 PM Wednesday, U.S. Highway 550 has reopened.

U.S. Highway 550 remains closed Wednesday over Red Mountain Pass until further notice due to "adverse conditions."

Traffic camera courtesy of CDOT.

Traffic camera courtesy of CDOT.

The closure is located between mile markers 71 (Silverton) and 92 (Ouray), with travelers advised to use the alternate north-south route of CO Highway 145 via Telluride.

Those traveling between Silverton and Ouray via the recommended Telluride detour will add roughly extra 3 hours or more to their trip, with a 45-minute drive stretching to about four hours. The stretch of road from Ouray to Silverton on Highway 550 is just 23.4 miles, compared to 208 miles via Highway 145.

"High winds, blowing snow, low visibility and high accumulations of snow have made maintenance operations and avalanche mitigation impossible to perform," CDOT said in a Facebook post. "For safety, maintenance personnel have been forced to vacate the pass."

RELATED: What it's like to plow Colorado's most dangerous highway

This will be an extended closure and there is currently no estimated time of reopening. The most up-to-date travel alerts can be found on the Colorado Department of Transportation website.

Red Mountain Pass is one of the most dangerous roads in the state to navigate during winter weather due to its steep drop-offs and high risk of avalanches. The 76-mile stretch of road travels from Durango and Ouray, offering access to Silverton. It's often referred to as the Million Dollar Highway.

There will also be brief, intermittent closures on Lizard Head beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

Editor's Note: Check CDOT’s Facebook, Twitter (@coloradodot) or cotrip.org for closures and delays on highways and roads across Colorado.

Breanna Sneeringer writes about news, adventure, and more for OutThere Colorado as a Digital Content Producer. She is an avid adventure seeker and wildflower enthusiast. Breanna joined OutThere Colorado in September 2018.


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