Independence Pass will remain closed into Thursday as crews assess latest October snowstorm totals
Independence Pass will remain closed into Thursday and road crews will assess Thursday morning if they will reopen the stretch of Highway 82 or close it for the season east of Aspen, a Colorado Department of Transportation official said Wednesday afternoon.
Crews who monitor the pass reported there is “moderate snowfall” with at least 6 inches at the Lincoln Creek turnoff (milemarker 51), which is about 9 miles east of Aspen, CDOT spokeswoman Elise Thatcher said in an update Wednesday afternoon.
“Crews will reevaluate conditions Thursday morning about whether to plow the pass or close the pass for the season,” Thatcher said.
A snowstorm picked up Tuesday afternoon in Aspen and heavy snow fell into evening and hung around into Wednesday. The National Weather Service forecast calls for clearing skies by Thursday then another round of storms possible in the Colorado mountains this weekend.
“Light snow will linger over the high divide mountains of central and northern Colorado with only light accumulations expected,” according to Wednesday’s NWS hazardous weather outlook. “A series of storms late this weekend into early next week will return the threat of mountain snowfall to the forecast.”
The Pass, which tops out at 12,095 feet, is closed at milemarker 51 over to milemarker 78, which is west of Twin Lakes, according to the COtrip.org travel website. The road closed late Monday evening.
This is the third time in the past two weeks the pass has been closed because of weather conditions.
Thatcher said with the pass closing, CDOT does not think it will have an impact on traffic on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon, which has construction projects ongoing from this summer’s mud and rock slides.
The pass typically closes about Nov. 7 each year, depending on weather conditions. In 2020, the pass closed Nov. 13, which was the latest closure since 2016 when it closed Nov. 17. In 2019, the pass had one of its earliest closures when CDOT shut it down for the season Oct. 28. In 2006, it closed for the season Oct. 23.
This is a developing story that will be updated.