Western Express Section 4 bridge closure

We want to make you aware of a significant bridge closure that will have an impact on your travels if you’re planning to ride these routes soon.

The bridge over Blue Mesa Reservoir on US 50 (Western Express Section 4, Map #51 and Great Parks South Section 2, Map #15, just east of Sapinero, CO) is closed to all traffic after inspectors found anomalies in the bridge’s structure during a safety inspection. The closure is in place between US 50 Mile Point 136 and 140. Read more on Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) website.

Unfortunately, there are no easy detours for bicyclists around the closure. Cycling on the local access route, County Road 26, during the designated travel times is strongly discouraged, but not prohibited.

Paved detours around the bridge closure are 300+ miles. If you are willing and able to cycle on portions of unpaved roads at high elevation, there are some unofficial detours posted on our forums that cut the detour length in half. These detours are created by the cycling community and have not been vetted by our Routes Department, so ride at your own risk.

Currently, CDOT’s goal is to restore “limited vehicle access” on the US 50 Blue Mesa Bridge by July 4th, 2024, if all the necessary steps can be completed without delays. It has not been determined yet if bicycles will be included as part of the limited vehicle access. Check for updates on bicycle access over the bridge at Colorado Department of Transportation.

In a separate but related issue, a 4-mile stretch of US 50 between Cimarron and Sapinero in Little Blue Creek Canyon (about 12 miles west of the Blue Mesa Reservoir Bridge closure) continues to be under construction. There are significant traffic impacts. During the weekdays, the roadway is open for single-lane, alternating traffic. Parts of the roadway are reduced to gravel or rough pavement. Expect long wait times and note that the area of construction is in a remote area with no nearby services. The construction zone is fully open to two-way traffic on the weekends. You can find more information in our forums and at US 50 Little Blue Creek Improvements.

As a result of these two issues (the construction in Little Blue Creek Canyon and the closure of the Blue Mesa Reservoir Bridge), cycling conditions on US 50 from Montrose to Gunnison this summer will be less than ideal.

We recommend using alternate routing, or if possible, postponing your trip.

Here are more links with information on this situation:

Temporary ACA Route Road Closure Forum

Map Updates and Corrections