Highway Construction South Of Durango Runs Into Native American Ruins

Grace Hood/CPR News
Durango on Aug. 9, 2015. The Animas River flows through the city.

Archaeological ruins have been unearthed in Colorado in the path of a proposed highway construction project.

The Durango Herald reported Friday that well-preserved Native American ruins were discovered while surveying the Florida Mesa for realignment of the U.S. Highway 550 interchange.

Researchers say ruins found south of Durango included human and animal bones and shells from the Baja region.

The Colorado Department of Transportation says archaeologists have a few months before they plan to begin the $100 million construction project in spring 2020.

Archaeologists say digs have turned up indigenous ceremonial sites, large pit houses and living quarters for the first time in hundreds of years.

Officials say the new interchange is expected to prepare the state for increased traffic from an expected population increase.