Independence Pass will temporary close to motorists for Pro Challenge, Aug. 19-20
The fifth edition of the USA Pro Challenge rolls in and out of Aspen over the course of two days next month, and motorists can expect temporary closures of Independence Pass both days.
Aspen will play host Aug. 19 and 20 for Stages 3 and 4. Nancy Lesley, the city’s director of special events, told county commissioners Wednesday that the pass likely will be closed to traffic from 1 to 5:30 p.m. the first day, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the second day.
Both closures will start at the Mountain Valley subdivision east of Aspen off Highway 82.
The decision was made last week after a discussion among city officials, the Colorado State Patrol and other law enforcement, Lesley told the board.
Lesley said information fliers for the public will be distributed soon. Like last year, a portion of Main Street will close Aug. 18, the day before the Colorado stage race comes to town, to allow set-up. Motorists will be detoured through the West End and the east side neighborhood, Lesley said.
The Pro Challenge starts Aug. 17 in Steamboat Springs with a circuit race. The third stage, a 101-mile leg that begins at Copper Mountain, ultimately will take racers to downtown Aspen by way of Independence Pass.
While the pass will be closed for roughly 4.5 hours that day, Lesley said motorists wanting to drive to Denver, even if they go over the pass before the closure, must be mindful that they could face road closures closer to Copper because of the race.
The fourth stage will be daunting for riders, thanks to its 126-mile route starting in Aspen and traveling over the western side of Independence Pass en route to Breckenridge.
Aspen resident Tejay van Garderen triumphed in the Pro Challenge last year and in 2013. He’s currently third overall in the Tour de France, which ends July 26.
Each year, the Lions Club uses race proceeds from the FireKracker 4K race to provide eye examinations and eye glasses for those in the Roaring Fork Valley who are in need.
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