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Independence Pass reopens Friday after 3-day closure

CDOT crews clear out snowdrifts near 12,095-foot summit

Staff reports

 

Colorado Department of Transportation crews spent Friday morning on Independence Pass clearing snowdrifts after this week's recent snowstorms.
CDOT courtesy photo

Independence Pass east of Aspen opened just before 2 p.m. Friday after closing earlier this week because of a series of snowstorms, a Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman confirmed.

Crews had to clear the road after about 2 to 3 inches of new snow fell on the east side of Independence Pass, CDOT’s Elise Thatcher said in an email Friday to The Aspen Times. This after the storm dropped nearly 8 inches of snow on the pass starting Tuesday, which is when the stretch of road closed.

There were “snowdrifts on the west side that are as high as the guardrail in places. One drift is up to 3 feet deep,” Thatcher said Friday morning. “That will take some time to clear.“



The pass, which tops out at 12,095 feet, is not closed for the season, though some electronic message boards along Highway 82 and Interstate 70 indicated this week that it was, Thatcher said.

According to the National Weather Service, the weather in the Aspen area is forecast to be clear and sunny through the weekend with highs in the upper-50s Saturday and Sunday. The next chance of snow is Monday night into Tuesday, according to the NWS forecast.



Independence Pass typically closes for the winter around Nov. 7, and the road opens for the summer on the Thursday before Memorial Day Weekend, weather permitting.

In 2020, the pass did not close until Nov. 13, which was the latest closure since 2016 when the winter gate about 5 miles east of Aspen closed Nov. 17. In 2019, the pass had one of its earliest closures when CDOT shut it down for the season Oct. 28. In 2006, it closed for the season Oct. 23.

Colorado Department of Transportation crews spent Friday morning on Independence Pass clearing snowdrifts after this week's recent snowstorms, including this one that was as high as the guardrail on the west side near the summit.
CDOT courtesy photo

 


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