Author Topic: Western Express Sec #3 maps 38-43. Bridge out. 8/19/21 through 10/21  (Read 268 times)

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Offline CMajernik

Temporary repairs are occurring on the bridge over Cottonwood Wash, 8 miles west of Blanding, and SR 95 is closed until sometime in October, 2021. You will need to detour around it beginning in Hanksville (map 38) eastbound, and ending in Monticello (map 43). The detour is 164 mi. long, and uses 38.6 miles of riding on the shoulders of I-70. Cyclists are allowed to ride on this interstate in Utah. For more information see https://publicinput.com/sr95bridge

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/37219653

You will need to carry lots of extra water with you because there are very few places to find water. From Hanksville to Green River it's 62 miles. From Green River to Moab it's 48 miles, and from Moab to Monticello it's 54 miles. Both Green River and Moab are all service towns with campgrounds.
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline John Nettles

Re: Western Express Sec #3 maps 38-43. Bridge out. 8/19/21 through 10/21
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2021, 04:05:07 pm »
Oh but on the bright side you get to visit Moab and its Arches Nat'l Park.

Offline jamawani

Re: Western Express Sec #3 maps 38-43. Bridge out. 8/19/21 through 10/21
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2021, 07:02:52 pm »
Or -

Via Bluff and the Goosenecks:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/37221283

From Hanksville, UT to Dolores, CO
Both routes are 222 miles
Via Moab +11,500 ft., Via Bluff +14,000

Limited services in Mexican Hat
Moderate services in Bluff
Full services in Cortez
Plus services in Hanksville & Dolores

Much quieter roads. No interstate riding.
Much of the 2500 extret feet of climbing is the Moki Dugway.
3 miles of unpaved switchbacks up a cliff to Cedar Mesa.
Tough on your legs going up.
Tough on your arms going down.

https://www.utahscanyoncountry.com/The-Moki-Dugway-Scenic-Backway-Utah-Highway-261

Natural Bridges N.M. has a small campground with water available outside the visitors center.
The visitors center remains closed due to Covid-19.

It's 95 miles from Hanksville to Natural Bridges with no services or water.
Hog Springs Picnic Area has shade and ramadas - plus you can usually beg water.
The Hite Overlook has great views and people stopping - you can usually beg water.
Do not hesitate to ask for water - and do so before you are on empty.
You will find people will usually offer you bananas or granola bars, too.

Printing off a big 8x11 sign with "H2O ?" beforehand is not a bad idea.

Offline zzzz

Re: Western Express Sec #3 maps 38-43. Bridge out. 8/19/21 through 10/21
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2021, 08:53:22 pm »
I had to smile at Carla’s concern about water on the alternate. It’s good to warn folks but the stretch that’s being re-routed is easily the most desolate section of ride I’ve ever taken, 130 miles of no place for food or water (if Hites Landing is closed) except for Natural Bridges (which is now apparently closed).

I’ve ridden the proposed alternate route from Moab to Hanksville as well but in the other direction on a self-designed route and what sticks out in my memory is 191 between 70 and when the bike path starts at the Canyonlands turn-off. I think it’s fair to say I have a really high tolerance for traffic when I’m on a bike. I don’t remember ever feeling more vulnerable then on that 20-30 mile stretch of 191. Almost no shoulder and a unbroken parade of RV’s and trucks in both directions so they can’t make room for you even if they wanted to. Riding on the shoulder of I-70 felt like a gift after I got off 191

Offline jamawani

Re: Western Express Sec #3 maps 38-43. Bridge out. 8/19/21 through 10/21
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2021, 10:12:25 pm »
The alternate I've suggested is only a smidgen less remote.
Cortez is a nice town with a great bike shop.
Bluff is simply gorgeous and Mexican Hat is funky.
But then it gets seriously empty.

The switchbacks on the Moki Dugway are kinda radical.
I've only been down - not up.
But loaded down with gear, I was taking it too fast.
I had a couple of scary skids.
But I was young and dumb back then.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Western Express Sec #3 maps 38-43. Bridge out. 8/19/21 through 10/21
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2021, 10:10:17 am »
At least one person has gotten across the bridge that is undergoing repairs.  See this person's Garmin's InReach tracking for 8/20/21 at approximately 8:45am.  Using the satellite view, you can see the bridge where he stopped for at least 10 minutes but then proceeded down the road later on.

https://share.garmin.com/TimothyTower

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Western Express Sec #3 maps 38-43. Bridge out. 8/19/21 through 10/21
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2021, 12:04:37 pm »
Poking around the track John posted, I noticed Cottonwood Wash Rd. heading up the west side of the wash.  It connects to Elk Mountain Rd. a few miles north which goes into Blanding.  I can't tell from satellite view if the roads are paved, but except for some shaded switchbacks, it looks passable.  Adds about 6 miles to the normal route.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/37229670

Offline jamawani

Re: Western Express Sec #3 maps 38-43. Bridge out. 8/19/21 through 10/21
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2021, 04:39:58 pm »
I contacted the San Juan County road department about local alternatives.
They were not certain about Elk Mountain Rd., but said it was probably worse.

The reason the bridge is damaged is because of flash floods.
I WOULD NOT RISK ATTEMPTING UNMARKED CROSSINGS.
Even after the water recedes there is mud.
And if it is caliche, it is like cement.


Offline John Nettles

Re: Western Express Sec #3 maps 38-43. Bridge out. 8/19/21 through 10/21
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2021, 05:11:29 pm »
I'm not necessarily suggesting people intentionally take this route but more to show that it is is possible to get across.  I personally have a bad habit of trying to cross "bridge out" roads AFTER I see if there are any nearby alternatives.  I get through probably 90% of the time but I am not opposed to dirt/gravel if need be.

So after reviewing the satellite image of the area, I would have 1) tried to cross at the "bridge out" and then if that was not possible, 2) try the definite jeep trails to the north then northwest to connect CR-248 then back south to UT-95. This is assuming I stumbled upon the bridge out.  If I knew in advance, I would have done what John suggested and take the cool Moki Dugway, heck it would have been my first choice overall.  That and camp out at nearby Goosenecks SP.

Tailwinds, John

P.S. John, I will be riding through your area in less than a week.  Please make the winds from the west or northwest please.