Mudslide closes Independence Pass
June 7, 2011
ASPEN – A mudslide closed Independence Pass southeast of Aspen for about three hours on Monday evening, stranding motorists on either side of the blockage, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. No one was stuck in the mud, or hurt.
The sheriff’s office was notified of the slide at about 6:15 p.m. It occurred at about mile marker 57, roughly 100 yards below the ghost town of Independence, according to the report. When deputies arrived, they found mud, debris and rocks covering about 40 to 50 feet of both lanes of Highway 82. Motorists in 20 to 25 vehicles were stranded on either side, but no one was stuck in the slide itself.
A Colorado Department of Transportation crew was summoned to clear the roadway with heavy machinery. CDOT reported a lane open to alternating traffic at 8:15 p.m. The highway was reopened to traffic in both directions at 9:09 p.m., according to the sheriff’s office.
Independence Pass still boasts a heavy snowpack, which is melting with recent warm temperatures. It took a Herculean effort by CDOT to get the pass plowed and open on schedule, on May 26.