Avalanche closes McClure Pass | AspenTimes.com

Avalanche closes McClure Pass

MARBLE, Colo. ” Highway 133 over McClure Pass will be closed indefinitely after an avalanche struck Monday and the threat of additional slides forced a cautious approach by highway maintenance crews.

“It’s really bad. Slides have come down,” said Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nancy Shanks. “It’s not safe right now to do the work they need to do.”

Shanks said she didn’t have information on when the avalanche closed the road. There were no reports of the slide catching any travelers. She talked to the head of the maintenance crew in that area Monday morning and learned they weren’t able to remove the snow from the initial slide or slides yet because of concerns of triggering additional avalanches.

The road was blocked at mile marker 40, near the top of McClure Pass, Shanks said. The area reported 17 inches of snow Sunday and Sunday night.

Crews hoped to perform avalanche control work later today, remove the debris and eventually open the road. Shanks said it is uncertain how long that work will take.

McClure Pass, near Marble and south of Carbondale, was one of seven passes closed on Monday in western Colorado, according to CDOT’s website. Coal Bank, Molas and Red Mountain passes, all on U.S. Highway 550, were closed to due “adverse conditions.”

Elsewhere, Lizard Head, Cumbres and Wolf Creek passes also were closed because of adverse conditions as of 11 a.m. Monday.

U.S Highway 285 was closed just north of the New Mexico border because of conditions and, closer to the Roaring Fork Valley, Highway 65 over the Grand Mesa was closed.

Shanks said all state roadways in the Roaring Fork Valley and Colorado River Valley were snowpacked and icy.

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