Travelers will have to plan another route other than Cottonwood Pass for the next year and a half. The beautiful, scenic route will be closed for the 2017 construction season which runs from May through September and possibly well into the 2018 season as well.
The west side of County Road 209, aka Cottonwood Pass, will be closed for some much needed safety improvements and its first ever coat of asphalt. The increased traffic from visitors to the Gunnison Valley over the years has warranted “improvements” include adding drainage, improving visibility and widening of the road to create a uniform 24-foot roadway; two 11-foot-wide paved lanes with one-foot-wide paved shoulders on each side. Some of the switchbacks at the top of the pass will be realigned which will reduce the road distance from 13.9 miles to 12.5 miles.
It was discussed at the November 3rd meeting, whether or not the roadwork should be broken up into smaller portions allowing for the road to be kept open to travelers throughout the summer. This would have meant long delays and daytime closures on the pass. It was determined that not only would it be costly to hire traffic control crews, it would be difficult to spread the word about the daytime closures to visitors. The additional roadwork that would be required to keep the pass open to drivers would also add cost and time to the project. Without these added costs, the project is estimated to cost Gunnison County $1,491,325 between 2016 and 2019.
So make note of the Cottonwood Pass closure dates and plan your trips accordingly. For the entire story, visit Cottonwood Pass To Close For Construction Summer 2017