Independence Pass closes in advance of winter storm
November 1, 2011
ASPEN – Highway officials have closed Independence Pass, southeast of Aspen, in the face of an approaching storm that is expected to bring six to eight inches of snow overnight and gusty winds that reduce visibility.
The Colorado Department of Transportation locked the gates on both the Aspen and Twin Lakes approaches to the 12,095-foot pass at 1 p.m. Tuesday after a sweep of Highway 82 over the pass to make sure no motorists or cyclists would be caught. About an 18-mile stretch is closed.
Whether the pass will reopen after the storm passes has yet to be determined. It is scheduled to close for the winter on Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. if winter doesn’t force an earlier closure. Last year, the pass closed for the season on Oct. 25, according to CDOT.
Motorists can go to http://www.cotrip.org for more on statewide road conditions, or call 511 from anywhere in the state.
The fast-moving storm is expected to blow into the mountains around Aspen on Tuesday evening and blow out by midday Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
The Aspen area is under a winter weather advisory starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday; it ends at noon Wednesday. The weather service is predicting 6-8 inches in the mountains, with higher amounts possible. Snow levels should lower rapidly to the mountain bases by late Tuesday evening, the agency said.
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Winds of 15 to 25 mph and gusts will mean blowing snow, reduced visibility and hazardous driving conditions, the weather service warned.
Clear skies are in Aspen’s forecast on Thursday and Friday.