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Independence & Kebler Passes, Trail Ridge and Other High Elevation Roads Remain Closed for Holiday

Courtesy Colorado Department of Transportation

Many of Colorado's high passes and mountain highways won't be opening anytime soon. While a snowy winter and a series of potent spring storms have served to obliterate drought conditions statewide for the first time in years, it's also hampering efforts to open roads that are traditionally open by Memorial Day.

Colorado Department of Transportation crews have cleared one lane up and over Independence Pass on both sides. But there's still some avalanche mitigation work to be done on the Twin Lakes side of Highway 82.

According to CDOT's Lisa Schwantes, the date the road opens depends entirely on how much snow comes down from that avalanche work and has to be removed from the roadway.

There's also some guardrail and road repair work to be done. Shwantes estimates that the road could open in about a week but cautions some precipitation forecasted for next week could change that.

Meanwhile, Pitkin County confirms that Maroon Creek Road opened this morning. There won't be any services for another week, however. And bus shuttle service is still scheduled to begin June 15.

 

Other high-country roadways are still off-limits, as well. Kebler Pass between Somerset and Crested Butte is still closed. Gunnison County officials say the traditional shortcut connecting Crested Butte to Paonia and the North Fork Valley may not open until mid-June.

 

Credit Courtesy Rocky Mountain National Park
Conditions continued to deteriorate for park snowplow operators along Trail Ridge Road on Monday afternoon, May 20.

It's a similar story for Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. Crews keep trying to plow out the the nation's highest continuous road but park officials say it just keeps snowing. There's no estimated opening date yet.

 

And CDOT officials say the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway west of Denver is open to Summit Lake Park, about 1,500 feet below the peak.