Safety officials in Aspen area see accidents related to snow spell |

Safety officials in Aspen area see accidents related to snow spell

A tow truck and local public safety officials assist a semi-truck that jackknifed near Music School Road on Saturday, blocking both lanes of traffic on Castle Creek Road for nearly four hours.
Andrew Travers/The Aspen Times

The winter storms that hit the Aspen area this week led to several traffic delays and road closures, according to Pitkin County officials.

Over the past week, the county issued 13 weather- and traffic-related notices through its Pitkin Alert system, including snow days for Aspen and Basalt area schools Friday and a road closure after a semi-truck attempted to make a U-turn near Music School Road, jackknifed and blocked both lanes of Castle Creek Road on Saturday night. This number does not include the alerts sent to notify subscribers of accidents or road closures being cleared.

According to reports passed down to Sgt. Levi Borst, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office supervisor on duty Sunday afternoon, there were several minor crashes and slide offs in the Aspen area over the weekend, but nothing really out of the ordinary.

The semi-truck that blocked Castle Creek Road on Saturday was cleared after over three hours when it was eventually towed from the area, Pitkin Alerts shows. People reportedly could be seen walking beneath the semi and getting shuttled to their destinations on either side of the truck as a road closure work-around, according to an Aspen Times reporter on scene.

Borst said the county notifies area locals and visitors of road closures when winter traffic accidents happen through the Pitkin Alert system to promote public safety, and that many accidents this time of year are often a result of driving too fast given the snowy and icy conditions, or of not having appropriate tires.

“I’m not telling people anything they don’t already know,” Borst said. “When we see people get in a hurry in these conditions, there’s less of a margin of error.”

Aspen Police also reported responding to at least five minor accidents in the city over the weekend, and Snowmass Police reported several accidents in the village parking lots and on town roadways, as well. None of these accidents were out of the ordinary, officials said.

The Gore and Elk mountain ranges reportedly received between 8 and 21 inches of new snow since Wednesday evening, with 34 inches reported near Vail Mountain, according to preliminary National Weather Service automated sensor data. As much as 10 inches could fall at higher elevations locally and across the Colorado mountains by Monday.