You don’t see this every day. About 4 p.m. on Friday May 24, 2019, Dawn Whaley and her boyfriend Ray Seeley had quite a scare while driving on a Colorado highway. According to the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office a rockslide occurred on Highway 145, about 10 miles (16km) north of Dolores. Whaley describes the scene:
“We came around the curve and saw dirt and rocks flowing across the highway,” Whaley said. “My boyfriend slammed on the brakes, and we were hit by debris. He threw it into reverse, and we backed up 20 feet until blocked by a downed powerline behind us.”
When the dust settled, they had stayed on the road and were about 20 feet from a house-size boulder that landed in the middle of the roadway.
“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. When I saw the size of the boulder, my knees went weak,” Whaley said. “We were very fortunate. Our guardian angels were watching over us.”
A huge rockslide containing a boulder the size of a building has fallen into a major road in Colorado, blocking all traffic. The road was closed indefinitely after one particular rock left an eight-foot crater in the ground, Colorado Department of Transportation said.
The ridge line where the slide originated above the highway is currently being evaluated to assess future threats.
These images courtesy of Dawn Whaley and Ray Seeley show that their truck was not unscathed by the unusual event.
This view shows that the massive rock did indeed come down the hill and did not just appear in the road from nowhere (as it appears in one of the photos).
Colorado state officials (PDF) said that “rockfall is the fastest type of landslide and is common in mountainous areas near cliffs of broken, faulted, or jointed bedrock, on steep slopes of rocky soils, or where cliffy bedrock ledges are undercut by erosion or human activity.”
Though closed indefinitely last week after the rockfall, the road is now reopened and cleared thanks to work crews who blasted the large rocks and removed the rubble. Boom. Good job.
A crew Sunday night blasted one of two boulders that shut down Colorado Highway 145 north of Dolores since Friday, and built a temporary road to allow traffic through. Trucks hauled way the rubble beginning Sunday, and the bypass road opened Monday afternoon.
This reminds us day to day that we depend on continuing good luck, the goodness of this universe simulation, and/or in a higher power to navigate the adventure of life.
Wishing you a non-rocky road.