Messaging from CDOT changes, but Independence Pass is noted as closed on its website; though not for mudslides

Staff reports

Independence Pass east of Aspen is listed as closed according to the state’s transportation department, but the road was not shut down Wednesday because of mudslides but rather to lessen traffic.

Earlier in the day, the Colorado Department of Transportation marked the road as closed on its travelers update site because of a “safety closure due to mudslide,” and Pitkin County Undersheriff Alex Burchetta said Wednesday afternoon the county sent out an alert about 3:30 p.m. as such, based on that information.

However, there were not any mudslides and the messaging “evolved” and was changed by CDOT, Burchetta said. A CDOT spokesperson confirmed there were no slides.

The agency is marking the stretch of Highway 82 over Independence Pass as closed to keep away traffic trying to detour around the Interstate 70 closure through Glenwood Canyon, the spokesperson said Wednesday afternoon.

CDOT’s update now states that “Independence Pass is shown as closed on, Google Maps and Apple Maps to prevent I-70 detour traffic from being routed onto that rural, challenging mountain highway with limited cell service. The highway is open to local traffic.”

Independence Pass, which tops out at 12,095 feet and has numerous narrow sections, was closed for a short time last month because of small rockslides on the Lake County side of the pass, but opened after that. The previous messaging might have still been on the CDOT site, Burchetta said, and thus the confusion.

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