Horse Gulch Blog

Watchdogging for the greater Durango area

29 Mar 2015

Photos: Walking CDOT’s proposed realignment of US 550 to US 160 at the Bridge to Nowhere

Posted by Adam Howell


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Last week I walked CDOT’s path for the proposed realignment of US 550 to US 160 at the Bridge to Nowhere with some environmental scientists from SME. During our hike, we saw deer, elk and bear fleeing the steeps of the northern aspects as we approached. Check out some of the prime edge habitat in a pinon juniper forest where we walked CDOT’s preferred alternative in the photographs below.

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These two ponds are being analyzed by the Army Corps of Engineers who will determine whether or not they qualify as wetlands.

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This pond probably won’t qualify as a wetland since there is an irrigation ditch that ends directly above it.

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A second image of the lower two ponds in the corridor of CDOT’s proposed realignment of US 550 to US 160.

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This pond is seasonally fed by an irrigation ditch feeding it from above.

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This irrigation ditch runs along the top of the Webb Ranch grasslands.

The irrigation ditch is dry.

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The forested area where CDOT is proposing to build the the realignment of US 550 makes for some prime edge habitat for deer, elk and bears, as were all seen by us during our walk last week.

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A fence line on the Webb Ranch where CDOT’s preferred alternative for realigning US 550.

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As part of CDOT’s proposed realignment of US 550, they would build a bridge across this canyon.

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This is one of two canyons where CDOT is proposing to build a bridge for the realignment of US 550.

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Imagine this canyon with a bridge going across it.

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Same unnamed canyon.

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Looking back to the southwest from the other side of the same 1st canyon where CDOT wants to build a bridge.

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A snag for birds to live in.

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CDOT is proposing to cut the tops of these mountains off and build a bridge across the canyon in between.

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A large den in the alignment of CDOT’s proposed connection of US 550 to the US 160 at the Bridge to Nowhere.

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We’re getting closer to the Bridge to Nowhere.

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CDOT’s proposed realignment would require digging this down at least 100 feet.

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Looking down at the Bridge to Nowhere.

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A box culvert with a stream that goes under US 160 at the bottom of Farmington Hill.

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A few big stairs exist at the end of this box culvert going under US 160 at the bottom of Farmington Hill. Can deer and elk cross through here? I would say yes, but their fawns and calfs would have a hard time making it down these stairs at the end.

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Wetlands at the bottom of Farmington Hill.

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Are the cattails growing at the bottom of Farmington Hill due to natural springs in the earth, or a seep from the seasonal irrigation ditch on the rim of the mesa?

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A view of the tree line along the rim of the the Webb Ranch, where CDOT is proposing to build a realignment of US 550 to connect with US 160 at the Bridge to Nowhere.

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