Independence Pass set to open Thursday for 2018 summer season |

Independence Pass set to open Thursday for 2018 summer season

Staff report
The sunset on Independence Pass over Memorial Day weekend in 2017. The highway over the pass is scheduled to open Thursday for the 2018 summer season.
David Krause / The Aspen Times file photo

In a signal that the long, cold winter is truly over, Aspen’s back door is about to swing open for the summer.

Independence Pass remains on schedule to open today at noon, according to Tracy Trulove, Colorado Department of Transportation spokesperson. The road generally opens just before the Memorial Day weekend and closes for the winter around the first week of November.

CDOT took advantage of the light snow year and repaved and patched portions of the road that were damaged during the winter months or just generally in bad shape. The road was being restriped Tuesday, she said, in preparation for Thursday’s opening.

While the highway is open for the summer, trucks longer than 35 feet never are allowed on the narrow, winding road, which tops out at the 12,095 feet over the Continental Divide. Drivers who violate the 35-foot rule can face a $1,000 fine.

Independence Pass connects Pitkin and Lake counties via Highway 82, and it is about 40 miles from Aspen to Twin Lakes.

CDOT crews also finished up repair work Wednesday on Highway 82 in Aspen. The agency spent two days repaving several damaged sections of Main Street.