The summer of 2012 could go down as the worst season for transportation-related disasters in recent memory.
In yet another blow for the local gaming community, a key section of Hwy. 67 South has been shut down and could remain closed for an undetermined period. This closure seriously impacts traffic to and from Cripple Creek, forcing motorists to use county detour r
The sudden closure of Hwy. 67 occurred on Saturday and was attributed to the discovery of a several-foot sink hole, linked to an old mine shaft. According to authorities, officials from the Colorado State Patrol notified the state transportation department of a 2-foot-wide hole on the main road. And when CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) officials arrived on the scene, they discovered a hole estimated at 5-foot wide beneath the road and 20 feet deep, according to CDOT spokesman Stacey Stegman. “That’s over a mine shaft,” stated Stegman.
Experts are now trying to determine the best way to fix the hole and stabilize the road, according to CDOT authorities. Under normal circumstances, the mine shaft is filled with concrete or other material. Estimates widely vary regarding how long the work will take to complete. These types of projects are becoming more common for CDOT, which must deal with various old mining sites along key thoroughfares.
County officials are estimating that this section of Hwy. 67 South, which extends from mile marker 53 to 56, just north of Cripple Creek, will remain closed for possibly several days. Electronic billboard messages along Hwy. 24 have warned motorists of the closure.
In the meantime, Cripple Creek travelers are being advised to take alternative routes, such as Teller One in Florissant and Hwy. 81 in Gillett, which takes people to Victor, where they can access Hwy. 67 North towards Cripple Creek.
In any case, the route to Cripple Creek will take longer. That’s not good news for Cripple Creek and the southern Teller region, which got walloped financially during the Waldo Canyon fire in late June. The fire, the most devastating blaze to strike Colorado, paralyzed local gaming and tourist traffic with a week-long closure of Hwy. 24. Cripple Creek visitors had to take a lengthy detour to Canyon City to access the area.