Independence Pass to close Saturday night; seasonal closure expected by Nov. 10 |

Independence Pass to close Saturday night; seasonal closure expected by Nov. 10

Aspen Times staff report

Last year, crews didn’t closed Independence Pass until Nov. 17. The pass is expected to close Saturday night because of weather and may re-open, but it will close for the season no later than Nov. 10. (Anna Stonehouse | The Aspen Times)

For the second time this week, state transportation officials plan to close Independence Pass because of expected snowy weather Saturday night, a spokesperson said.

Colorado Department of Transportation employees will plow Independence Pass all day Saturday, then close the gates on the Pitkin County and Lake County sides at 7 p.m. Saturday, CDOT’s Tracy Trulove said.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory starting at 6 p.m. Saturday through 11 a.m. Monday for parts of western and central Colorado, including the Elk Mountains and the central mountain valleys. A storm is expected to come in from northwestern Colorado over the weekend.

According to the weather service, snow totals are expected from “4 to 10 inches, localized amounts up to 12 inches” in some areas in the central mountains. Reduced visibility and slippery roads are expected, according to the National Weather Service’s Grand Junction office.

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CDOT will re-evaluate the situation Sunday and determine if the pass can be reopened, Trulove said.

Provided it re-opens, officials have targeted the permanent winter season closure for Nov. 10, Trulove said.

The pass closed Monday night and there was up to 8 inches of snow overnight, but CDOT officials had the highway re-opened by Tuesday morning.

CDOT has said it would try to keep Independence Pass open longer this year to alleviate traffic concerns related to the closure of the Grand Avenue Bridge in Glenwood Springs. The bridge is scheduled to reopen Tuesday.

The pass closes annually around the beginning of November and re-opens again around Memorial Day.

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