CDOT aims to open Independence Pass on Thursday

Staff Report
An avalanche bomb dropped Friday by mitigation crews via helicopter detonates and breaks apart a cornice above Independence Pass. Snow removal and avalanche mitigation operations are under way to open the pass by Thursday.
Jeremy Wallace / The Aspen Times |

The Colorado Department of Transportation said Monday that crews have been working for several weeks to open Independence Pass at noon Thursday.

CDOT crews on Friday worked with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center to clear up to one dozen slide paths that could pose avalanche risks. Necessary work may include the following:

• Clearing snow, ice and other debris from the roadway and shoulders from the slide paths.

• Moving concrete barriers before hauling out loads of rock debris from the ditches.

• Blading asphalt millings on the shoulders to set barrier.

• Resetting barriers and replacing any additional that may have been damaged.

• Repairing/replacing signs, guardrail and roadside delineators.

• Trimming trees and brush, patching potholes and striping the highway.

“Sometimes our only chance of getting much-needed maintenance work completed, including filling potholes and removing rocks that have made it to the highway over the winter, is right after we get the pass cleared of snow,” said Tim Holbrook, transportation maintenance supervisor for the area that covers the Aspen side of the pass.

Should the pass open Thursday, CDOT reminds motorists and cyclists to always check conditions prior to traveling mountain passes.

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