CDOT opens Independence Pass for the season

Travel Advisory

May 27, 2021 - Northwestern Colorado - Vehicles that are 35 feet or longer still prohibited

LAKE & PITKIN COUNTIES – Crews with the Colorado Department of Transportation have reopened Independence Pass on Colorado Highway 82 for the season. Workers unlocked seasonal closure gates on Thursday afternoon at noon, reopening CO 82 on each side of the pass to vehicles. Sixty-three vehicles were the first to travel up CO 82 towards the pass from the Pitkin County gate.

Reopening the road for the 2021 season required significant rockfall mitigation during the week of May 17. Crews conducted rock scaling just east of the Grottos Trailhead. The successful work resulted in about 25 loads of rock being removed from the rock face next to CO 82. Rock scaling is when crews remove nearby rocks, including locations above a roadway. The work was required after crews discovered rockfall while clearing the highway of snow earlier this spring. Cracked or loose rock is common along CO 82 on Independence Pass and can develop due to regular and frequent freeze/thaw cycles in mountainous locations with year-round winter weather. Like previous years, CDOT crews also worked with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center to perform avalanche mitigation before reopening.

CDOT reminds motorists that commercial and recreational vehicles 35 feet or longer are prohibited. The restriction is due to tight curves, steep inclines and narrow lanes on some sections of the pass, and applies to vehicles and trailers with a combined length of more than 35 feet. Motorists should plan for the restriction to be in place on CO 82 between Mile Point 47.2 (Aspen side) and MP 84.2 (Leadville/Twin Lakes side, about one mile west of the junction with US 24).

Motorists and cyclists should check weather conditions prior to traveling mountain passes, as spring snowstorms can prompt closures or slow traffic.

Stay Informed

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts, anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:

About CDOT

CDOT’s Whole System-Whole Safety program has one simple mission — to get everyone home safely. Our approximately 3,000 employees work tirelessly to reduce the rate and severity of crashes and improve the safety of all modes of transportation. The department manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway, more than 3,000 bridges and 35 mountain passes. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also operates Bustang, the state-owned interregional express bus service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.