State to move highway instead of 8.5 million pound rockslide boulder, saving $200,000

The 8.5 million pound boulder that rests next to Colorado State Highway 145. Photo Courtesy: CDOT

The old saying still applies: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Especially when that lemonade may cost about $200,000 less.

On May 24, a massive rockslide dug an eight-foot ditch into Colorado Highway 145, about 12 miles north of Dolores in southwestern Colorado. It’s the main route between the Four Corners and the Telluride area.

The highway was closed for a few days, and it’s now back to just one lane.

As it turns out, the biggest rock from the slide weighs 8.5 million pounds, or 4,250 tons. Not exactly something you can move with a bulldozer.

State to move highway instead of 8.5 million pound rockslide boulder, saving $200,000

The 8.5 million pound boulder that rests next to Colorado State Highway 145. Photo Credit: Hugh Carey; Summit Daily News via AP

And the cost to fix the road, at $1.5 million, is no small amount either.

So Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis announced the lemonade solution: Instead of blasting the rock, it’s going to stay right where it is and the road will move instead.

It’s even got a name: Memorial Rock, so called because the slide happened a few days before Memorial Day.

Polis said the state will save about $200,000 in moving the road instead of the rock, and Colorado is likely to get a little help on the costs from the federal government.

And the state gains a new tourist attraction of sorts.

See more Colorado Politics content here.

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