Indy Pass close while Maroon Creek remains open
The snowstorm that blew in Sunday night and Monday morning was enough of a winter blast to close Independence Pass for the season on the earliest date in nine years, a spokesperson said.
“It was getting very difficult for our crews to keep up with the amount of snowfall on the Pass,” said Lisa Schwantes, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation. “Once that happens … it’s safer to just call it, so we closed it for the season.”
And while other officials said they’d heard CDOT might reassess the closure later in the week and open it again before winter shuts it for good until Memorial Day, Schwantes said it’s possible but unlikely.
“If we have a dry spell and the snow melts on its own and we anticipate a long dry spell, we possibly could open it,” she said. “But at this point we’re not going to send crews in to clear the snow any longer.”
The decision to close the Pass on the Aspen and Twin Lakes sides was made about 7:45 a.m. Monday. It’s the earliest closing since at least 2011, which was the limit of CDOT’s available records Monday, she said.
Independence Pass, which is 12,095 high and the highest paved highway in Colorado, generally closes in early- to mid-November and reopens the Thursday before Memorial Day Weekend. It closed Nov. 5 last year, Schwantes said.
Karin Teague, executive director of the Independence Pass Foundation, said Monday she heard CDOT will reassess the closing once the latest spate of winter weather clears out mid-week. Alex Burchetta, chief deputy of operations for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, said Monday he heard the same thing.
Schwantes, however, said snow drifts up to 5 feet high can form on the Pass and will not be removed anymore this winter.
Snow and low temperatures are expected in the Aspen area Tuesday and Wednesday. Temperatures were expected to rise into the upper 40s and possibly low 50s by late week, according to weather forecasts.
Pitkin County will continue to try and keep Maroon Creek and Castle Creek roads open until closer to the historical closing date of Nov. 15, said Scott Mattice, the county’s road and bridge manager. County crews were able to plow Maroon Creek to the Maroon Bells parking lot Monday and Castle Creek to Ashcroft, he said. “With temperatures up to the 50s late this week, it’s easier to keep them open until closer to the Nov. 15 date,” Mattice said.
The county will post electronic sign boards at the Maroon Creek and Castle Creek closure gates next week that will warn of the Nov. 15 closing date unless additional snow falls, he said.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User