Aspen History: Paving the Pass
“Independence paving starts soon,” announced The Aspen Times on July 18, 1968. “Dust will not blot out the aroma of pines on the Independence Pass road after October. That’s when the remaining 11-mile dirt section is due for completion. Paving will begin at the end of the pavement that was completed several years ago, about seven miles east of Aspen, and continue to above the ghost town of Independence, at the foot of the last steep rise to the 12,095-foot summit. In recent years, two separate paving projects brought hard-surfacing from Twin Lakes to the west side of the summit. Although many residents favor paving, they do not want Independence Pass turned into a super-highway. They feel that the route should continue to provide secondary access to the Roaring Fork Valley, and that Aspen should remain relatively secluded. At one time, there were rumors that the highway department was considering a tunnel under the summit. It was said the route would be used as an alternate while Interstate 70 was being constructed in Glenwood Canyon. However, it is believed these plans, if they ever were under consideration, have been discarded.” This image shows the Narrows on Independence Pass in the 1960s, not long before the paving was completed.
This photo and more can be found in the Aspen Historical Society archives at aspenhistory.org.