Independence Pass to open May 25
May 24, 2017
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced today it expects to open Independence Pass on Thursday, May 25 at noon.
Crews have been working for about a month to clear the way for the opening. Each year, CDOT crews work with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) to perform avalanche mitigation to clear up to one dozen slide paths that can impact the road.
According to a release from CDOT, necessary work to open the gates may include the following:
Clearing avalanche slide paths (up to 12 total)
Clearing snow, ice and other debris (from slide paths) from the roadway and shoulders
Moving concrete barriers before clearing ditches
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Hauling out loads of rock debris from the ditches
Blading asphalt millings on the shoulders to set barrier
Resetting barriers and replacing any additional that may have been damaged (much of the damaged barrier is recycled for other public agency use, saving disposal costs)
Repairing/replacing signs, guardrail and roadside delineators
Trimming trees and brush
Striping the highway
"Sometimes our only chance of getting much needed maintenance work done, including filling potholes and removing rocks and debris that damage the roadway over the winter, is right after we get the pass cleared of snow," said Tim Holbrook, transportation maintenance supervisor that covers the Aspen side of the pass, in a statement.
CDOT crews will continue the business of keeping this and other state highway mountain passes safe and in good condition for the ensuing summer season ahead. Motorists and cyclists are reminded to always check conditions prior to traveling mountain passes, as spring snowstorms could close them temporarily or slow traffic at times.