Road Construction on Rim Rock Drive

Rim Rock Drive Re-Opened May 12, 2018; Phase 3 Construction Continues Replacing Guard Rails, Installing Signs/Delineators and Adding Permanent Lane Markings

Fruita, CO – The east side of Rim Rock Drive in Colorado National Monument is scheduled to re-open Saturday, May 12, 2018. The new asphalt road is in, however, the area will remain a construction zone as United Companies completes the final tasks of the contract. The remaining work involves replacing the guard rails, installing signs/delineators and adding permanent lane markings.

Beginning Saturday May 12, visitors and Glade Park residents can expect:

  • A new asphalt road surface with temporary lane markings.
  • A lower temporary speed limit of 20 mph. When the contract is finished the speed limits will return to the previous limits.
  • On Monday through Friday and possibly some Saturdays, the construction staff may work 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. To allow for the safe operation of guard rail installation equipment, the construction company will close one lane and use flaggers or pilot vehicles to escort cars through the work zones. Motorists should expect delays of up to 30 minutes.
  • The National Park Service highly recommending bicyclists traveling the entire 23 miles of Rim Rock Drive to start at the Fruita entrance during this time. Due to their slower speed while traveling up the east hill, cyclists may extend the wait time for downhill vehicles and bicycles within the flagging/pilot car operations.
  • The Little Park Road route will be signed as an alternate route for those wishing to avoid the construction.
  • Tunnel dimensions may have changed slightly due to the overlay of asphalt. Until accurate measurements can be conducted, the posted tunnel heights are 16 feet above the center double yellow line and 10.6 feet above the white fog line.
Based on the current timeline, the work will be completed before the July 4 weekend, almost a month earlier than the contract deadline.

Spring hours are now in effect at Colorado National Monument. The visitor center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. For additional information please visit www.nps.gov/colm or call 970-858-3617, ext. 360.

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Completed: Phase 2 of Rim Rock Drive Repaving from March 12, 2018, through May 11, 2018

Colorado National Monument is partnering with the Federal Highway Administration for work in three areas along Rim Rock Drive between now and July 31, 2018. The project was awarded to Old Castle SW Group, Inc., a local Grand Junction company.

The second phase of this multi-phased project involves repairing and resurfacing the east hill of Rim Rock Drive, from the Grand Junction entrance and through the intersection with DS Road and then following DS Road to the monument boundary.

Rim Rock Drive from just inside the east (Grand Junction) entrance to DS Road has been closed since March 12, 2018, for reconstruction. The National Park Service, at the request of the Federal Highways Administration, has agreed to extend the full road closure through May 11, 2018. The west entrance, visitor center and 18 miles of Rim Rock Drive remain open.

United Companies construction staff anticipates the road project will be delayed due to current and expected weather conditions in May. The base layer of asphalt has been laid and the curbing is complete. However, the final layer of asphalt has not been finished and in order to continue to get a high quality product in the safest and most efficient manner, the full road closure has bee extended a week.


The No Thoroughfare Canyon trail head parking and the Devils Kitchen Picnic area parking will remain open with some temporary closures on mornings when the new pavement is blended into the remaining surfaces. Those planning to use the picnic area or to hike on the trails for the next couple of weeks should consult the monument's website to ensure the area will be open.

All visitors using the trails and picnic area on the east side are asked to follow the safety signage and directs of the construction staff.

“We realize this extensive project has been an inconvenience,” said Superintendent Ken Mabery “but the east hill has only been comprehensively addressed once in the last 40 years and we are ensuring it is done correctly.”

Old Castle SW Group, Inc has so far completed a full depth reclamation of the original asphalt surface. The old asphalt has been ground up and compressed to form the road base for the new asphalt surface. The road’s switchbacks included multiple layers of asphalt and dirt where the road had been widened in the early 1990s. These layers were also removed. The replacement of the concrete curbs and asphalt gutters along the road will ensure that water will not undermine the new road surface is in progress.

The goal of everyone associated with the project is to accomplish the needed work in an efficient, high quality manner while providing for the safety of the staff, community members and visitors.

The final project covered by the contract will be to replace the guard rails throughout Rim Rock Drive. At this time, the work will start late spring to early summer.

Spring hours are now in effect at Colorado National Monument. The visitor center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. For additional information please visit www.nps.gov/colm or call 970-858-3617, ext. 360.


News Release


 
 
Excavator removes four feet of road base. A dump truck waits along side for the dirt and rock. Two people in safety vests stand in area previously excavated in the foreground of the photo.
Excavator Working to Remove the Road Base on Rim Rock Drive

NPS photo

Completed: Phase 1 of the 2018 Rim Rock Drive Road Construction between Highland View Overlook and Artists Point Overlook

The first part of the Rim Rock Drive road construction project was completed on March 9, 2018. This involved completely replacing a small portion of the road between Highland View Overlook and Artist Point Overlook. The work entailed removing the road base in a section of road that had continued to slump, creating challenging driving conditions for visitors.

 
Equipment and pallets of large sandstone rock in the foreground await shaping and placement. In the background 6 staff members are working to install new rock to form walls along road.
NPS Staff at work restoring one of the many rock guard walls along Rim Rock Drive.

NPS Photo

Historic Guardwall Restoration

During the summers of 2016 and 2017, National Park Service staff are restoring the historic guardwalls along Rim Rock Drive. These guardwalls were built by the Civilian Conservation Corp and the Work Progress Administration from the 1930s through the 1950s.

Today's staff are trained in historic masonary techniques to remove crumbling morter and rocks. To the degree possible they save and return original stones to their locations. When necessary they replace broken rocks with new ones hand cut to fit into the hole left by the original rock. They use morter of the same consistency as the original. Over the years they have found if the morter is too hard it can cause additional weathering of the sandstone rocks.

In areas where work is being done, vehicles will be limited to one lane with flaggers directing traffic. Motorists should expect 5-10 minute delays.

 

2017 Repairs to Rim Rock Drive

Colorado National Monument is partnering with the Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration to repair sections of Rim Rock Drive. Below is a sampling of the work they are doing or have done.
 
Heavy equipment extends drill over edge of road to repair culvert. Worker on ropes below road to direct work.
A crew from GCS, LLC works on a bedrock culvert below Rim Rock Drive.

NPS Photo

South of Grand View

The work in this area included repairs and stabilization to a bedrock culvert and the rock face below the roadway. Work was completed from April 26 through May 12. GCS,LLC from Grand Junction completed the work.

The road and the bedrock culverts were installed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. It is critical to keep water from rain and snow moving effectively under the road without eroding it, due to the soft sandstone surroundings.

Last updated: May 12, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1750 Rim Rock Drive
Fruita, CO 81521

Phone:

(970) 858-3617 x360

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