Procession route from Denver to Pagosa Springs for CDOT worker

Nolan Olson on the job. (Courtesy of CDOT)

A procession route from Denver to Pagosa Springs has been planned to honor a CDOT worker killed while working along a Colorado highway.

The remains of fallen employee Nolan Olson will be brought to his hometown of Pagosa Springs on Friday, March 2. Olson lost his life on Feb. 11 after suffering critical injuries from a passing vehicle, which struck him on Feb. 2 while he was filling pot holes on the highway in Pagosa Springs.

His remains will be carried along Highway 285 through the San Luis Valley.

"We are very honored that the family is allowing us the privilege of carrying Nolan home to his final resting place," said Mike McVaugh, CODT Region 5 Transportation Director.

A key stopping point along the route will be in Poncha Springs at the Lincoln Area Maintenance Office. The stop will allow Region 5’s south-central employees the chance to honor their fallen CDOT brother.

Once Olson’s remains arrive in South Fork, a formal procession will take place for the final 42 miles of the journey, over US 160 Wolf Creek Pass. The American flag will be displayed at the summit of Wolf Creek as the procession drives over the pass.

Olson’s step-daughter, Archuleta County Undersheriff Tonya Hamilton, along with other family members will await the motorcade on the west side of the pass near Treasure Falls and will then lead the final leg of the procession into Nolan’s hometown of Pagosa Springs.

“My family and I have been dumbstruck at the amount of people that want to be involved in bringing Nolan home and honoring him in this way. It’s truly been astonishing,” said Hamilton. “We haven’t been able to find the words to express our gratitude to everyone. I’m humbled by the outpouring of concern and love.”

Following immediately behind the sheriff’s vehicle will be snowplow number 4746, the vehicle which was driven by Nolan while serving the public for 14 years on the Pagosa Springs Patrol 7. Accompanying the memorial motorcade will be local southwest and south-central Colorado CDOT Region 5 employees, driving their trucks and equipment. Local emergency response personnel with the police, sheriff, fire and state patrol are also expected to join in the procession. Community members may pay their respects as the memorial procession makes its way through Mr. Olson’s hometown of Pagosa Springs.

Mr. Olson’s remains will lay at rest throughout the night on the grounds of Maintenance Patrol 7, until transported to the memorial service the following day. Mr. Olson’s family has arranged a “celebration of life” to take place on Saturday, 11 a.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center of Pagosa Springs.

The expected departure time from Denver will be in the early morning of Friday, March 2. CDOT informs the public that brief traffic delays may occur at highway intersections along the statewide procession route. The journey will take approximately six hours. CDOT urges the public to use caution when the memorial motorcade passes, especially if members of the public wish to pay their respects outside of their vehicles or places of business.

A longtime CDOT employee has died, just over a week after he was hit by car while on the job.

The department says Nolan Olson was filling potholes on Highway 160 in Pagosa Springs on Feb. 2 when he was hit by a passing car. He was severely injured and taken to St. Anthony's Hospital in Lakewood. He survived for nine days and passed away Sunday.

"Nolan possessed a wealth of knowledge about CDOT, was a true role model to his coworkers, and was diligent in his work," said CDOT maintenance supervisor Billy McDermott in a statement Monday. "Nolan faced every day with a great and positive attitude. Every member of his patrol looked up to him. Nolan gave guidance for work tasks and was able to share the history of the patrol, CDOT and Pagosa area whenever asked.”

The executive director of CDOT shared similar sentiments.

"We lost an incredible team member in Nolan. He was the type of person who would not have wanted his loss to have gone without shining a spotlight on the risks that our crews take every day when they go out on the roads to serve the public,” Michael Lewis said.

Olson had been an equipment operator with CDOT for 14 years. He was a resident of Pagosa Springs.

CDOT has started a GoFundMe account to help his family. Click here if you wish to donate.

His death comes one day after a Colorado State trooper was hit by a passing car while working a crash. The trooper was uninjured.

Law enforcement and CDOT urge drivers to move over for officers and workers who are doing such a dangerous job on busy Colorado roads. Most of the collisions involving law enforcement and road workers can easily be avoided if drivers obey state "Move Over" laws.

We have reached out to CDOT for more information about the crash and whether the driver was cited.