2024 Highway Impacts


2024 Highway Impacts • Red Mountain Electrical Reliability & Broadband Improvement Project

Beginning this week, San Miguel Power Association (SMPA) will begin the first phase of operations for the Red Mountain Powerline Project. This multi-stage project will reconstruct approximately 4.5 miles of transmission line from the Red Mountain substation to the Idarado substation along Highway 550 south of Ouray.
Closures will be instituted in the following areas of operation for public safety: St. Germain area, Ironton Townsite, south side of National Forest System Road (NFSR) #895–Greyhound Mine road/Spirit Gulch road, and dispersed camping near NFSR #886–Corkscrew road and NFSR #884–Brown Mountain road.
Additionally, SMPA will conduct foot traffic control at National Forest System Trail (NFST) #250–Richmond trail, allowing hikers to travel through the area intermittently when safe.
SMPA has established a public information website https://www.smpa.com/red-mountain-electrical-reliability... to alert the public about ongoing activities in the area. Closure signs will be placed in the areas identified while work is occurring. The website and signage will be updated as operations progress.


Alex Shelley

Feb 12, 2024, 4:48 PM    

Dear Ouray or Silverton Stakeholder:

In an effort to keep you informed on our Red Mountain Electrical Reliability and Broadband Improvement Project, we’d like to offer the following update regarding travel impacts for the coming summer season.

In early June, our contractor is planning to begin work on the re-construction of 4.5 miles of 44kV transmission line between the Idarado and Red Mountain electrical substations.  The work will include the replacement of existing line and structures.  The travel impacts of this work are anticipated to be far lower than that of the Vegetation Management phase that was completed in 2021.

It’s important to note that the good weather that enables construction in the mountains, is the same good weather that brings tourists.  We are planning to operate between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and these holds are likely to affect visitors on their way into and out of the mountain communities.  Fortunately, the holds should be less than 15 minutes each and, since there’s no scheduled work on the weekends, nor over the 4th of July holiday, the impact on economic activity should be minimal.

We want to invite you to communicate with us, during this planning stage, about any concerns you may have.  Remember, this project is designed to enhance power reliability in an area prone to rockfalls, avalanches and other natural interruptions.  It will also contribute to the overall expansion of fiber-optic cable, adding high-speed communications options throughout the region.

Silverton residents will also want to keep in mind that SMPA and Tri-state are currently refining the schedule for substation improvements that will take place in Silverton and San Juan County this summer.  Details on the schedule for this work, which will require up to one 6-hour outage followed by one shorter outage 6-8 weeks later, will be forthcoming.

We appreciate the partnership of our member communities and we commit to open and proactive communication as we continually endeavor to improve service to all our members.  Thank you.


Jeremy Fox

Chief Operating Officer,

San Miguel Power Association 

P.O. Box 1150

Ridgway, CO 81432

Office: 970-626-5549 x212

Mobile: 970-209-5593