Colorado will leave house-sized boulder along highway

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FILE – In this May 27, 2019 file photo, an 8.5 million pound boulder rests next to Colorado State Highway 145 after falling from nearly 1,000 feet from the nearby ridge and destroying the pavement between Cortez and Telluride, Colo. The state has decided to keep the boulder where it is and re-route the highway around it, saving about $200,000 in blasting costs (Hugh Carey/Summit Daily News via AP, File)

DENVER (AP) — A boulder the size of a house that tumbled across and gouged a southwestern Colorado state highway last month will stay put. State officials plan to rebuild the highway next to it, saving taxpayers money and possibly creating a tourist attraction.

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday that Colorado will save about $200,000 by not blasting the 8.5 million pound (3.9 million kilogram) boulder. He said people will also have the opportunity to see the boulder dubbed “Memorial Rock,” which fell on Memorial Day weekend.

It was the largest rock in a rockslide on Colorado Highway 145 near the town of Dolores on May 24 and ended up just off the road.

The Colorado Department of Transportation says the total cost of fixing the road, adding a guardrail in front of the boulder and cleanup will be about $1.3 million.

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This story has been corrected to say that the highway will be rebuilt in its existing location and not re-routed around the boulder.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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