Independence Pass closed for the winter, CDOT says | AspenTimes.com

Independence Pass closed for the winter, CDOT says

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

Rustin Gudim/The Aspen TimesThe gates on the Aspen side of Independence Pass were locked Monday. They'll remain so for the winter, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

ASPEN – Highway 82 over Independence Pass, southeast of Aspen, will remain closed for the winter, the Colorado Department of Transportation announced Thursday.

CDOT locked the gates on either side of the pass, in Pitkin and Lake counties, on Monday morning, as a snowstorm sweeping into western Colorado intensified. At that time, the agency called the closure temporary, indicating the route might reopen in advance of Nov. 7, when CDOT was scheduled to close the pass for the winter regardless of the weather.

Reopening the highway to traffic is not safe, CDOT said Thursday. The 18-mile stretch over the 12,095-foot pass will remain closed until spring.

Independence Pass typically reopens in late May, shortly before the Memorial Day weekend.

The wintery weather cleared out of the Roaring Fork Valley on Wednesday after delivering more snow in the morning, creating slick road conditions that led to a rash of accidents on Highway 82 between Glenwood Springs and Aspen.

On Wednesday afternoon, an accident partially blocked the downvalley lanes of Highway 82 at the upper end of Snowmass Canyon – a perennial trouble spot during the winter. The afternoon commute was slowed as a result.

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Sunny skies returned to the valley Thursday and are forecast again on Friday, with a high of 54.

Saturday’s forecast for Aspen calls for a slight chance of rain and snow showers before noon, then a chance of rain with mostly cloudy skies and a high near 54, according to the National Weather Service. Partly sunny skies with a 20 percent chance of showers and a high near 47 are expected on Sunday.