Bill raising fines on Independence Pass gains initial approval |

Bill raising fines on Independence Pass gains initial approval

House Bill D, written to address the problem of large trucks illegally crossing Independence Pass, gained approval from the legislative council Thursday.

The bill includes wording that raises the current $500 fine for an operator of a commercial vehicle who violates a road closure or restriction on Independence Pass to $2,000.

The fine also includes two license suspension points for the vehicle operator for each violation.

Independence Pass is at an elevation of 12,095 feet and is generally open from Memorial Day until mid-November. The pass is challenging to navigate with steep grades, unexpected weather and stretches of narrow road. Oversized and overweight vehicles are not allowed to use the pass at any time.

State Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, made the initial request to the Transportation Legislation Review Committee to look into the issue and worked with the committee on the wording of the bill.

The bill will now move to the next legislative session, which is scheduled to begin Jan. 8 and run through May 7. It needs to be approved by both houses and signed by the governor. The bill will first be introduced to the state House of Representatives.

The bill was assigned the short title “Highway Restriction Violation Penalties” and will be given a new bill number before it’s introduced.

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