Million Dollar Highway Gets Multi-Million Dollar Facelift
The section of US Highway 550 between Ouray and Silverton over Red Mountain Pass has been getting a facelift over the last couple of seasons and now the work is done, driving should be less stressful.
The Colorado Department of Transportation and Rock & Company began work on the highway in 2015 to make it safer and more durable for the 2,100 or more vehicles that use the road on a daily basis.
There are several stories about how the highway over Red Mountain Pass - most notably the section from Ouray to the summit - got the nickname 'The Million Dollar Highway.' Two of the most popular are that one portion of the highway cost a million dollars a mile to build in the 1920's. The other story says the fill dirt used contains a million dollars in gold ore.
As for the facelift, a long list of repairs and improvements were made, including repairing and rebuilding retaining walls, widening sections of the highway, and work on guardrails.
The total cost from design to completion for the work is $5.9 million -- worth every penny of fewer white-knuckle miles for drivers.