Independence Pass on track to reopen Thursday

Staff report
An avalanche bomb dropped Friday by mitigation crews via helicopter detonates and breaks apart a cornice above Independence Pass. Snow removal and avalanche mitigation operations are under way to open the pass by Thursday.
Jeremy Wallace / The Aspen Times |

The Colorado Department of Transportation announced Monday that Independence Pass is on target to open Thursday at noon.

Crews worked last week with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) to perform avalanche mitigation to clear up to one dozen slide paths that can impact the road.

Other work underway in order to open the Pass includes:

• Clearing avalanche slide paths (up to 12 total)

• Clearing snow, ice and other debris (from slide paths) from the roadway and shoulders

• Moving concrete barriers before clearing ditches

• Hauling out loads of rock debris from the ditches

• Blading asphalt millings on the shoulders to set barrier

• Resetting barriers and replacing any additional that may have been damaged (much of the damaged barrier is recycled for other public agency use, saving disposal costs)

• Repairing/replacing signs, guardrail and roadside delineators

• Trimming trees and brush

• Patching potholes

• Striping the highway

“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 snow,” said Tim Holbrook, CDOT Transportation Maintenance Supervisor on the Aspen side of the pass.

CDOT reminds motorists to always check conditions prior to traveling mountain passes as spring snowstorms could close them temporarily or slow traffic at times.