Afternoon snowstorm in Aspen makes for treacherous, long rush hour home
December 12, 2018
The winter storm that rolled into Aspen midday Wednesday made for a treacherous rush hour and long drive home.
There were numerous accidents and slideoffs and the police scanner was busy with crash responses and requests for sand on roads around town. There also were road closures around the upper valley as the snow continued past sundown.
Just before 6 p.m., traffic on Main Street was backed up solid and stretched from the Original Curve to the S-curves in both lanes. An hour later traffic had cleared and getting out of Aspen wasn’t as difficult.
After 3 p.m. there were reports that it was taking more than 45 minutes to get from downtown Aspen to the S-curves, about 10 blocks, and nearly an hour to get to the roundabout.
Local law enforcement said a cement truck rolled over on Red Mountain Road, causing about an hourlong road closure, and a bus slid into a few cars on Aspen Street. There were no reports of serious injuries as of 5:45 p.m.
The National Weather Service at 3 p.m. issued a winter weather advisory until 5 a.m. Thursday and called for 4 to 8 inches of snow at higher elevations and winds gusting to 50 mph.
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Pitkin County’s alert system sent a message just past 5 p.m. warning that "due to winter driving conditions it is stop-and-go traffic in Aspen due to winter weather and multiple accidents. Please allow plenty of space between vehicles, and drive with caution."
Tow truck drivers were taking up to 60 to 90 minutes to get from one accident to the next, police said.
At the Aspen airports there were canceled and diverted flights.
The snow started just past noon and was heavy at times. The forecast for Thursday calls for clearing skies and dry conditions through Friday night.