CDOT still planning an on-target May 21 opening of SH 82 Independence Pass

May 19, 2014 - Northwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 3 - LAKE/PITKIN COUNTIES –Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) crews have been working from daylight to dark in an effort to clear the way for an on-target opening of Independence Pass on Thursday, May 21 at Noon.

CDOT crews worked with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) last week to perform avalanche mitigation to clear up to one dozen slide paths that can impact the road. 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

  • 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

  • Patching potholes

  • Striping the highway

“Once we clear the highway and ensure the safety of the slide paths, any repair work can begin,” said Tim Holbrook, Transportation Maintenance Supervisor that covers the Aspen side of the pass. “Sometimes our only chance of getting much needed maintenance work completed, including filling potholes and removing rocks that have made it to the highway over the winter, is right after we get the pass cleared of all the snow,” he added.

Should the pass open on May 21, 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.

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.  Updated road conditions are available at or by calling 511 from anywhere in the state or by visiting and choosing the talk bubble in the lower right-hand corner.    You can also download our CDOT mobile app for more information, road conditions and project updates. Up to date information is also available via Twitter @coloradodot and be sure to “Like” our Facebook page

(A photos link has been posted on CDOT’s Media Room