Last year at this time, Independence Pass had already closed for the season due to a heavy autumn snowfall that prompted the gates in Pitkin and Lake counties to shutter on Oct. 28.
But the 7 inches of snow received on Independence Pass this week weren’t enough to close the road, which tops out at 12,095 feet, said Elise Thatcher, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation. The 32-mile section of Highway 82 which comprises Independence Pass is the highest elevation paved highway in the state.
After consulting with maintenance crews Tuesday Thatcher said, “It is in good condition at this point and we are not looking to close it this week.”
Like previous years, the decision will be weather dependent, she said. Other than last year, the closure dates in the past decade have ranged from Nov. 2 to Nov. 17. Two years ago, CDOT closed the pass Nov. 5.
Its spring reopening is usually the Thursday before Memorial Day, though the 2020 opening was delayed about one week, to June 1, due to epidemiological reasons related to COVID-19.
Rockfall mitigation work on the pass wrapped up Friday, so travelers won’t be hindered by intermittent work stoppage delays.
Motorists using Independence Pass to travel to Denver on Thursday night (Oct. 29) should be prepared for a closure of Highway 91 near Copper Mountain from 7 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. as crews install a new pedestrian bridge near Copper Road.
According to CDOT, the detour will route traffic from Leadville through Minturn by way of US 24. For more about this project call 970-456-4456 or go to SH91Bridge@PublicInfoTeam.com.