Independence Pass (SH 82) Expected to Open on Target Date: May 22 at 2 P.M.

May 8, 2014 - Northwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 3 - Further estimates will be sent next week, travelers encouraged to check

LAKE/PITKIN COUNTIES – If all goes as planned and weather conditions stay calm, the Colorado Department of Transportation expects an on-target opening of Independence Pass:  the Thursday prior to Memorial Day—which lands on May 22 this year—at 2 p.m. (Last year, the Pass opened on target as well on May 23, 2013.)

Each year, CDOT sets a goal to get the 12,095-foot pass open on this day—it is always completely dependent on weather conditions and, of course, the amount of work necessary to clear the road and carry out other maintenance items, including:

  • Clearing avalanche slide paths (up to 12 total, though not all need clearing each year)
  • Clearing snow, ice and other debris (from slide paths) from the roadway and shoulders
  • Moving concrete barriers before clearing ditches
  • Hauling out loads of rock debris from the ditches
  • Blading asphalt millings on the shoulders to set barrier back onto
  • 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)
  • Working with special CDOT crews from Grand Junction to drill and blast any large rocks in the ditches so they can be hauled away
  • Repairing/replacing signs, guardrail and roadside delineators
  • Trimming trees and brush
  • Patching pot holes

Should the pass open on May 22, 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.

TRAVELER SAFETY MESSAGE: 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.