Seasonal mountain passes to re-open soon
Vail, CO Colorado
CLEAR CREEK, PITKIN AND LAKE COUNTIES, Colorado – Roads on Independence Pass and Mt. Evans are expected to re-open for the season in time for the Memorial Day weekend.
Colorado Department of Transportation crews have been working re-open Independence Pass on State Highway 82 and Mount Evans on State Highway 103, for the past week. It will take crews at least through May 22 to clear the highways.
“We are seeing record snowfall amounts on both Independence Pass and Mt. Evans,” said Fred Schulz, a Department of Transportation maintenance superintendent. “Our crews are working extremely hard to open both highways just before the holiday weekend, but the large amount of snow combined with the potential for more snowstorms and the need to conduct avalanche control work may slow us down.”
Independence Pass presents the most challenges, with snow pack well above average (172 percent or more). Usually the snow has warmed enough for crews to bring it down and clear it from the roadway, but right now avalanche work is still difficult with the cold, firm snow conditions, Supervisor Jim Pitkin said.
The reopening date will be confirmed for both passes during the week of May 19. Drivers should be advised that if they reopen on the 22, any subsequent spring snowstorms or snow “slides” due to snow melt could temporarily close the pass again, or at the very least slow traffic at times, officials said.
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.