Rockfall mitigation taking place along Independence Pass, one of Colorado's most scenic mountain passes, will shut down all lanes of traffic for several fulls days in late September and early to mid-October. The mitigation also means many days of traffic alternating on one lane, something expected to cause a big delays.

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Independence Pass closures for rockfall mitigation work through October. Map credit: CDOT

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the closure is necessary for the motorists’ safety as crews repair mitigation systems designed to prevent rockfall from impacting the highway.  

Per CDOT, here's a look at the proposed rockfall mitigation schedule:

  • One lane will be closed with alternating traffic on the pass, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8 through Friday, Sept. 11. Daytime work will continue Monday through Friday over the month of September for the work.
  • A full closure of the pass is planned for 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 30 and possibly Thursday, Oct. 1 for hydromulching. This a water and wood based mulch that helps stabilize the slopes.
  • Full weekday closures are planned in early and mid October as a helicopter will be used to install rock netting.

During full closures, the hour-long drive between Aspen and Twin Lakes more than triples. It's an estimated 3 hours and 36 minutes to detour through Leadville and Meredith.

Independence Pass, originally known as Hunter Pass, is a 12,095-foot mountain pass located in central region of Colorado. It's also one of the most scenic drives in the state, offering breathtaking views of Continental Divide in the Sawatch Range. Bordering between the mountain counties of Pitkin and Lake, the high-altitude mountain pass connects Aspen to Twin Lakes.

Oversized and overweight vehicles are strictly prohibited from traveling over the mountain pass due to its steep grades and narrow, winding, and sharp curves. 

CDOT says “absolutely no vehicles over 35 feet in length may use the pass at any time.” This includes vehicles and trailers that, together, exceed 35 feet. 

Editor's Note: The rockfall mitigation schedule is subject to change due to weather and several other factors. Always check CDOT’s Facebook, Twitter (@coloradodot) or cotrip.org for active closures and delays on highways and roads across Colorado. 

Breanna Sneeringer writes about news, adventure, and more for OutThere Colorado as a Digital Content Producer. She is an avid adventure seeker and wildflower enthusiast. Breanna joined OutThere Colorado in September 2018.

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