Stoplights pop up on narrow section of Independence Pass east of Aspen |

Stoplights pop up on narrow section of Independence Pass east of Aspen

Staff reports

New stoplights popped up on one of two narrow sections on Independence Pass on Thursday in an effort to help control the influx of traffic using Highway 82 as a detour around the Glenwood Canyon closure.

Temporary stoplights have been put in at the pullout sections at either end of Weller Curve, which is the first narrow section east of Aspen on the Pitkin County side of the pass. As of Thursday afternoon, there was not a set of stoplights at the second narrows near the Lincoln Creek turnoff.

The Colorado Department of Transportation communications spokesperson for the area did not return messages Thursday seeking more information on the lights being installed or if another set would be added.

Karin Teague, who is on the pass nearly every day as the director of the Independence Pass Foundation, said the stoplights to allow alternate flow were helpful in the narrow section.

“The light seems to be working well — that (section) was a major source of trouble,” she wrote in an email.

She added there were fewer cars on the pass Thursday, likely because of the CDOT messaging Wednesday the stretch was closed, according to the agencies site. On Thursday, instead of denoting that stretch of road in red to signify it was closed, the stretch was gray but no explanation about what that color code meant.

On Wednesday, the CDOT website stated “Independence Pass is shown as closed on, Google Maps and Apple Maps to prevent I-70 detour traffic from being routed onto that rural, challenging mountain highway with limited cell service. The highway is open to local traffic.”

Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon has been closed since July 29 after mudslides again crossed the road in the Grizzly Creek Fire burn scar. Another heavy storm caused more damage Saturday, and crews do not have an estimate on when the interstate might reopen.

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