Independence Pass unlikely to open by Memorial Day
The Aspen Times
Independence Pass probably won’t be open by Memorial Day weekend, a Colorado Department of Transportation official said Tuesday.
Crews still have a lot of work to do on the road, including avalanche mitigation with helicopters, and still have not yet punched through to the summit or repaired a 100-foot section of avalanche-damaged guardrail near the top, said Tracy Trulove, CDOT spokeswoman.
“I would just be shocked (if it opened on time),” Trulove said.
CDOT historically tries to open the road over Independence Pass by the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend.
Avalanche Mitigation operations start May 22
However, this year because of heavy snow and avalanches, CDOT is unable to conduct helicopter-based avalanche mitigation operations until May 22, she said. It is unlikely that crews will have time to clean up any helicopter-provoked avalanches before the weekend, Trulove said.
Once that avalanche mitigation work is done, CDOT officials will have a better idea when the road might open, she said.
As it is now, crews have not yet tunneled through all the snow to the top of the pass yet, Trulove said.
The section of damaged guardrail is along the steep section of road near the top just before it makes a hard left turn toward the summit.
Reporter Jason Auslander can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.