Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) crews have been working for about a month to clear the way for an on-target opening of Independence Pass on Thursday, May 25 at Noon.
Each year, CDOT crews work with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) 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
"Sometimes our only chance of getting much needed maintenance work done, including filling potholes and removing rocks and debris that damage the roadway over the winter, is right after we get the pass cleared of snow," said Tim Holbrook, Transportation Maintenance Supervisor that covers the Aspen side of the pass.
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. 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. The latest condition information is available at http://cotrip.org.