Independence Pass Will Open for Season on Schedule -Thursday, May 23, at 2 p.m.

May 20, 2013 - - Northwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 3 - LAKE/PITKIN COUNTIES – The Colorado Department of Transportation is pleased to announce that the spring opening of SH 82 over Independence Pass will happen on schedule: Thursday, May 23, at 2 p.m. This scenic mountain corridor serves tourists, facilitates recreation and provides community connections across our state’s divide.

Each year, CDOT sets a goal to get the 12,095-foot pass open on this day—the Thursday prior to the Memorial Day holiday weekend. With relatively mild spring weather, CDOT maintenance patrols on both sides of the pass have broken through the snow, met in the middle, and will now complete any necessary repairs to the pavement, guardrail, roadside delineation, signs and more. In addition crews will continue to push back snowpack from shoulders, turn-outs and ditches where necessary, as well as work on drainage issues as they arise due to the ongoing snow melt.

The most recent report from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center shows current snowpack levels on the pass being 31 percent of average on the east side and 63 percent of average on the west. In 2011, crews opened the pass on time with the help of a powerful snow cat. The snowpack in late May in 2011 represented 452 percent of average on the east side and 361 percent on the west. Last year in 2012, CDOT was able to open the pass early (May 11, nearly two weeks ahead of schedule), since snowpack in May was at the opposite extreme at zero percent of average snowpack levels.

CDOT crews work with CAIC forecasters to clear up to one dozen slide paths that can impact SH 82. Not all paths present a threat each spring, and all avalanche control work is complete.

After the pass opens on Thursday, CDOT crews will continue the business of keeping this and other state highway mountain passes safe and in good condition for the busy summer season ahead.

IMPORTANT MEDIA NOTE: For travel safety, 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. For roadway conditions, or information the public can log on to or call 511. Or, sign up to receive FREE road condition messages to e-mail or wireless devices by going to and choosing the green phone icon in the upper right-hand corner.

Transportation Matters! Although 63 percent of CDOT's budget goes toward maintaining the state highway system, it can often be a "faceless" activity. The work at Independence Pass exemplifies the difficulty and challenges CDOT crews face when working to maintain our state's roadways.

(Photo posted on CDOT’s Media Room