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Independence Pass closes for the season

Colorado Highway 82 over Independence Pass is the highest paved state highway in Colorado.

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.

ABOVE VIDEO: 100-car crash on 6th Avenue in Denver

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

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Credit: Colorado Department of Transportation

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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