Independence Pass to close again Saturday night; season closure set for Nov. 10 | AspenTimes.com

Independence Pass to close again Saturday night; season closure set for Nov. 10

Staff Report

For the second time this week, state transportation officials plan to close Independence Pass because of expected snowy weather t0night, a spokesperson said Friday.

Colorado Department of Transportation employees will plow Independence Pass all day today, then close the gates on the Pitkin County and Lake County sides at 7 p.m., CDOT's Tracy Trulove said.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory starting at 6 p.m. tonight through 11 a.m. Monday for parts of western and central Colorado, including the Elk Mountains and the central mountain valleys. A storm is expected to come in from northwestern Colorado over the weekend.

According to the weather service, snow totals are expected from "4 to 10 inches, localized amounts up to 16 inches" in some areas in the central mountains. Reduced visibility and slippery roads are expected, according to the National Weather Service's Grand Junction office. Snow levels in the area are expected to drop to 7,500 feet by Monday morning.

CDOT will re-evaluate the situation Sunday and determine if the Pass can be reopened, Trulove said.

Provided it reopens, officials have targeted the permanent winter season closure for Nov. 10, Trulove said.

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The pass closed Monday night and received as much as 8 inches of snow overnight, but CDOT officials had the highway reopened by Tuesday morning.

CDOT has said it would try to keep Independence Pass open longer this year to alleviate traffic concerns related to the closure of the Grand Avenue Bridge in Glenwood Springs. The bridge is scheduled to reopen Tuesday.

The Pass closes annually around the beginning of November and reopens again around Memorial Day.