Independence Pass to remain open through this week, maybe longer
The Aspen Times
UPDATE: The Colorado Department of Transportation will keep Colorado 82 over Independence Pass open until the first snowstorm forecast for the area.
“We will be monitoring for any potential snow events working with our local Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecaster as well as information that we get from the National Weather Service to make a decision on when the pass needs to be closed not only for the safety of our CDOT crews but also the traveling public,” Tim Holbrook, CDOT supervisor, said Monday.
Closure dates for the past five years: 2011, Nov. 2; 2012, Nov. 9; 2013, Nov. 4; 2014, Nov. 12; 2015, Nov. 4.
Independence Pass was originally scheduled to close today, but warm fall weather and a lack of snow led CDOT to announce Friday that it would keep the road open at least during this week, forecast permitting, agency spokeswoman Tracy Trulove said.
Trulove noted that mild weather is predicted for the next few days. In fact while Independence Pass is 4,000 feet higher than Aspen, highs in the 50s and 60s are expected in Aspen through Saturday, with the first chance of precipitation coming Sunday.
If the warm weather trend continues, CDOT might decide to close the pass by mid-November, Trulove said, in an effort to better allocate the transportation department’s resources to areas that need more attention, like the I-70 corridor and other high-volume roads.
“There comes a point where (Independence Pass) doesn’t receive a lot of traffic volume at this time of year,” Trulove said. “Unlike our summer and fall seasons.”
A year ago, Independence Pass had closed early for the season due to a storm that blanketed the area with several inches of snow.
“It’s a little unbelievable for us,” Trulove said of the unseasonal weather. “But a little crummy for the ski areas.”
The two-lane, 12,095-foot pass usually reopens the Thursday prior to Memorial Day weekend, Trulove said.
For the most up to date information on Independence Pass’ closure, visit http://www.cotrip.org.
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