MEEKER I On May 20, Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) maintenance crews reported the failure of a downhill Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) retaining wall on State Highway 13 at mile marker 29, causing the roadway to sag up to five feet in the area adjacent to the wall.
This rural highway between Rifle and Meeker is a key link between I-80 to the north and I-70 to the south.
On May 21, the Transportation Commission approved an emergency conditions request for this project. The request allows CDOT engineering staff to begin design and shortly thereafter start construction to repair the slope failure.
“We understand the need to shore up the slope failure and we have been working to do that without impeding traffic, but we are now in a position where we need to reconstruct the structure,” said Clint Moyer, CDOT’s program central resident engineer.
“Our team, CDOT crews and Rio Blanco Road and Bridge staff are all working collaboratively to keep an eye on conditions in the area and doing our best to make sure the situation isn’t deteriorating to a place that is no longer safe,” Rio Blanco County Sheriff Anthony Mazzola said Friday.
CDOT’s GeoHazards team reports that above-average rainfall resulted in a saturated ground condition weakening the supporting soil structure. CDOT maintenance forces have been monitoring and repairing with rotomill tailings over the last several months and more recently on a daily basis to keep the roadway operational to traffic and safe for the traveling public.
CDOT maintenance crews have implemented a traffic shift toward the northbound lanes to lessen the traffic load near the failed MSE wall.
Please slow for the cone zone that has been put in place, Mazzola requested. The speed limit through that zone is 25 mph.