Pitkin County had it coming over Independence Pass closure | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County had it coming over Independence Pass closure

I seldom agree with Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky, but I must support his criticism of Pitkin County’s government for persuading the Colorado Department of Transportation to close Independence Pass on Aug 12. Pitco was responding to the overflow traffic on Highway 82 caused by the closing of Interstate 70 by the Grizzly Creek Fire.

Jankovsky was quite accurate when he described Pitco’s actions as selfish and arrogant. I’m sure Pitco’s objectives were to spare the hoity-toities of Aspen the frustration of putting up with a Glenwood Springs-like traffic jam, and they never gave a thought to the impact the closure had on the dow-valley trash.

The problems Pitco experienced on the pass probably could’ve been avoided if the sheriff’s department had enforced the no-trucks rule. The semis went up there anyway, couldn’t handle the narrow, curvy highway, and clogged traffic. Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo needs to accept responsibility for this.

I think Jankovsky let his Russian temper get the better of him when he called Pitco officials gutless. Closing the pass was actually quite bold and opened them up to criticism. Maybe reckless would’ve been a better term.

Whatever, communications between the neighboring county governments seems to be lacking. Jankovsky didn’t go to the Pitkin BOCC with his complaints. He went to the Post Independent. I doubt if Pitkin County officials consulted with their counterparts in Garfield County before they asked CDOT to close the pass.

Perhaps this is all due to the vast political differences that is currently afflicting our country. Pitkin County is run by Democrats and Garfield County by Republicans. I’d love to see Governor Polis bring the two county governments together and ask them to air their differences and get along.

Fred Malo Jr.


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