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UPDATE: Expect traffic delays on Highway 24 during roadwork

UPDATE: Expect traffic delays on Highway 24 during roadwork

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - A rockfall project on Highway 24 continued Tuesday, causing traffic delays.

The Colorado Department of Transportation will be removing loose rocks sitting above the north slope of Highway 24 near Cave of the Winds. There will be traffic stops to make sure driving conditions are safe.

The highway was empty, but drivers who tried to get on Highway 24 were at a dead stop. All traffic on Highway 24 will be stopped for 20 minutes at a time at Cave of the Winds Road. for eastbound traffic, and at the east Manitou Springs exit for westbound traffic.

"Life can't be that fast that the delay would bother people when it comes to safety so no the delay is not a problem and it shouldn't be for anyone," said driver Duane Carter as he waited to merge onto Highway 24.

C-DOT budgets a little over $9 million a year for rockfall issues. It's adding $3 million to that budget for the next five years. The two day project along Highway 24 will cost $3,500.

"We have seen rock slides in other areas and we have seen how dangerous it is and I'm delighted they are spending the money to do it," said Carter.

If no major problems come up, C-DOT will be back on Highway 24 for another extensive rock scaling project like this in two years.

As an alternate route, drivers traveling eastbound can take Serpentine Drive to Manitou Avenue to go through Manitou Springs. Westbound traffic can take the Manitou Springs exit and go west on Manitou Avenue to Serpentine Drive to get back onto Highway 24.

Highway 24 is one of 750 areas around the state that C-DOT monitors for rock slides.

"Every few years we try to do some rock scaling to knock down stuff that's loosened up over the years," said engineering geologist Bob Group with C-DOT. "It's OK for a while and then we have to go back in and give it some more attention."

Adonijah Vigil was trying to drive to Cripple Creek Monday. He waited at a gas station near Highway 24 while it was temporarily shut down. It's not the first time he's waited for Highway 24 to reopen. He waited for a long time on Highway 24 during the floods this summer.

He was anxious to get back on the road, but he was glad to see the project underway.

"I got a brand-new 6-month-old so I wouldn't want to be up there if a rock slide happens," said Vigil.

It was a slow drive Monday, but drivers hope it will be worth it in the long run.

"It's better that they do it now then if a rock slide would happen in the future by itself and end up hurting people," said Kelly Hexom.

"It could be a lot longer delay if there is a boulder in the middle of the road," said John Martin.

The road work will take place on Monday and Tuesday. Traffic stops will start at 9 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m.

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