Independence Pass truckers vex CDOT
Ryan Summerlin August 8, 2012
ASPEN – What to do about big rigs traveling Highway 82 on Independence Pass near Aspen, where vehicles more than 35 feet long are not allowed, has the Colorado Department of Transportation stymied.
Pitkin County commissioners, in a meeting with CDOT officials Tuesday, asked what could be done about truckers ignoring the rule against driving over the narrow, winding pass.
New signs have been installed at the base of the route, southeast of Aspen, and CDOT has worked with GPS map providers to show the travel restriction on the pass, according to Zane Znamenacek, CDOT traffic engineer, but some semi drivers still take their rigs over the pass. Some truck owners would rather pay the fine than have their drivers take the long way around, he said.
“I think it’s an issue that goes way beyond signs. I don’t know how you address that,” he said.
Maybe stiffer fines are in order, commissioners mused.
This summer’s truck troubles included one rig that slipped off the highway on the evening of July 16 and required two wreckers to pull it back onto the pavement and escort it to the nearest place to turn around. The pass was closed for much of the night, and the driver was cited.
On July 28, the pass was reduced to one lane in the Grottos area as the result of a stuck semi. Authorities warned motorists to expect delays.