Wreck near Alma claims life in snowstorm
Ryan Summerlin February 23, 2012
On the heels of a wild and windy Wednesday that brought some decent snow accumulation to the High Country, more heavy snow continued to fall early Thursday, causing transit delays, closed roads, and a fatal accident in Park County. The accident occurred before 11 a.m. north of Alma on State Highway 9. It closed the highway, then slowed traffic as vehicles were diverted around the scene.Three vehicles were involved, and to Colorado State Trooper Josh Lewis’ knowledge, it was three different parties. Two were taken to Summit Medical Center – condition unknown – and the other was pronounced dead at the scene. -Falling and blowing snow caused Summit County’s transit systems to delay routes in the early morning Thursday. The Breckenridge Freeride transit system suffered from drivers not being able to get to Breckenridge for their afternoon shifts due to the U.S. Highway 9 closure, but by mid-afternoon had secured shifts so evening schedules wouldn’t need modification. Adverse weather caused early morning delays, but the buses were largely back on schedule later Thursday morning. “As long as visibility and road conditions allow us to continue our normally scheduled service, we will do so,” Breckenridge spokeswoman Kim Dykstra-DiLallo said. “We assess it constantly.”Poor visibility closed Loveland Pass at 12:30 a.m., and it remained closed throughout the day. Interstate 70 between Silverthorne and Morrison Road has reopened, and is also reopened in both directions over Vail Pass following avalanche work. The Dillon Dam Road, within Summit County, closed around 7 a.m. and remains closed. Conditions on open interstate sections are reportedly wet with icy spots. Interstate 70 westbound from Georgetown to the tunnel was closed for several hours after midnight Thursday. It reopened shortly before the eastbound direction closed from Silverthorne to the tunnel at 4:20 a.m. U.S. Highway 40 over Berthoud Pass has been closed throughout the morning as maintenance crews remove snow on the east side of the pass. “Weather conditions are beginning to improve on highways west and southwest of Denver, allowing maintenance crews to clear snow and ice from the roadways and conduct avalanche control operations,” Colorado Department of Transportation spokesman Bob Wilson said. U.S. Highway 285 remains snowpacked and slushy in spots but conditions continue to improve, Wilson said. The Summit Stage suspended all service until daybreak Thursday. The Breckenridge Free Ride transit system is up and running; however, it was delayed roughly 30 minutes in beginning routes, and passengers should expect slight delays due to adverse weather and road conditions.At the ski areas, Arapahoe Basin reported 9 inches of new snow over the past 24 hours as of 5 a.m. Thursday. Vail originally reported a foot of new snow but later revised it to 2 inches, citing variables in conditions due to the wind. Copper Mountain reported 2 inches of snow at 4:30 a.m., and has accumulated another 2 inches by midday.Forecasts call for more snow through the afternoon and evening, with blowing snow through 11 p.m. Clouds are expected to clear early Friday and remain mostly sunny, with breezes and wind gusts up to 20 mph, through the day. More snow could come through on Saturday and Sunday, with less accumulation expected. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) issued an avalanche warning for the Front Range and Vail and Summit County zones, due to heavy snow and strong winds coming from a strong cold front moving through early this morning. The warning is in effect until noon Friday.
For additional road condition information within Summit County, call (970) 668-1090. For road conditions on Interstate 70, state highways and mountain passes, call 511 or visit www.cotrip.org. Call (303) 342-8477 for Denver International Airport flight-delay information.