PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. — Independence Pass between Lake and Pitkin counties has closed for the season.
Colorado Highway 82 over the pass first closed Sunday, Oct. 23 due to a winter storm. The closure has been extended into a winter closure on Friday, Nov. 4, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).
Independence Pass usually closes in November for the winter season because plowing the steep switchbacks is not safe during winter months and sections of the roadway are exposed to significant avalanche hazards, CDOT said.
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Colorado Highway 82 over Independence Pass is the highest paved state highway in Colorado, crossing the Continental Divide at 12,095 feet.
The alternate route from the Denver Metro Area to Aspen is via westbound Interstate 70 to Glenwood Springs, then CO 82 to Aspen.
CDOT typically reopens the Independence Pass on the Thursday prior to the Memorial Day holiday weekend, weather permitting.
Independence Pass closure dates
- 2011 Nov. 2
- 2012 Nov. 9
- 2013 Nov. 4
- 2014 Nov. 12
- 2015 Nov. 4
- 2016 Nov. 17
- 2017 Nov. 17
- 2018 Nov. 5
- 2019 Oct. 28
- 2020 Nov. 13
- 2021 Oct. 25
- 2022 Nov. 4
Colorado chain and traction laws
The CDOT urged travelers to be aware of chain and traction law codes before heading out on the roadway:
- Code 18/Commercial Chain Law: Commercial vehicles and trucks must have chains. Vehicles without chains can often lose traction, causing traffic delays and sometimes road closures. For the safety of the traveling public, it's critical to use chains to comply with Colorado's chain law.
- Code 15/Passenger Traction Law: All passenger vehicles must have appropriate all-weather tires with 3/16-inch depth. Vehicles must have one of the following: winter tires, tires with mud/snow (M+S) designation, chains or alternative traction devices such as an autosock. 4WD and AWD vehicles must have winter tires or all-weather tires.
- Code 16/Passenger Chain Law: All passenger vehicles need chains, except for 4WD and AWD vehicles with all-weather tires with 3/16-inch tread depth.
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