CDOT says it is on target to open Independence Pass at noon Thursday
Highway 82 over Independence Pass is likely to open as planned Thursday at noon, the Colorado Department of Transportation announced Tuesday.
Crews from the transportation department worked with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center on May 14 to clear avalanche paths on both the Aspen and Twins Lakes sides of the summit, according to CDOT spokeswoman Tracy Trulove. They worked on 12 slide paths and were more successful getting ones on the Aspen side of the pass to run, she said.
Crews have cleared snow, ice and debris from the roadway and shoulders. The nearly nonstop rain lately hasn’t dumped a lot of fresh snow on the road.
“They have had fresh snow, but it’s melting pretty quickly,” Trulove said.
A statement from the transportation department said the crews are finishing chores such as moving concrete barriers so they can clear ditches, resetting barriers and replacing damages ones, repairing and replacing signs, guardrails and roadside delineators, trimming trees and brush, patching potholes and repainting highway stripes.
“Sometimes our only chance of getting much-needed maintenance work completed, including filling potholes and removing rocks that have made it to the highway over the winter, is right after we get the pass cleared of all the snow,” said Tim Holbrook, transportation maintenance supervisor for the Aspen side of the pass.
Independence Pass tops out at 12,095 feet in elevation. That makes it the highest paved thru-road state highway in Colorado. The paved roads on Mount Evans and Pikes Peak are higher, but they are dead-ends. Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park climbs to 12,183 feet. It’s a U.S. rather than state highway.
Highway 82 closes each winter east of Aspen and west of Twin Lakes, usually from mid-November until the Thursday before Memorial Day.
Updated road conditions are available at http://www.cotrip.org or by calling 511 from anywhere in the state or by visiting http://www.codot.gov and choosing the talk bubble in the lower right-hand corner.