Independence Pass

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

Inmates from the Buena Vista Correctional Facility spent four weeks in September doing restoration and maintenance work in the wilderness on Independence Pass. Environment reporter Elizabeth Stewart-Severy spent a morning with the group and has details about Colorado’s inmate work program.

Welcome to Valley Roundup. I’m Carolyn Sackariason.

A large turnaround lane is planned to be built on Highway 82 so semi trucks won’t go over Independence Pass. Some people are skeptical.

CDOT, county to alter 82 near pass

Truck turnaround proposed at base of Indy Pass

And a Rifle-based journalist gets hazed about his column that takes a shot at Aspen.

Courtesy of Pitkin County

Transportation engineers are planning to significantly alter Highway 82 so that semi trucks and other over-sized vehicles cannot physically travel up Independence Pass.



Increased fines and road warnings to large truck drivers haven’t stopped them from heading over the pass. So, the latest proposal involves creating such a tight turning radius before the closure gate that over-length vehicles wouldn’t be able to go through.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

Some of the water from the Roaring Fork watershed follows the usual route, from high peaks down to the Colorado River. But much of the snowmelt and rain from this basin is redirected to water-starved cities on the Front Range. Aspen Public Radio’s Elizabeth Stewart-Severy joined a rare tour of the tunnels that move water to the other side of Independence Pass.

Courtesy of Colorado Department of Transportation

Glenwood Canyon will be closed again this Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., forcing many motorists to seek alternate routes.

Welcome to Valley Roundup. I’m Carolyn Sackariason.

A lawsuit that the town of Basalt filed against one of its citizens has been thrown out of court by a judge.

Judge dismisses Basalt lawsuit over open records request

Jordan Curet, Aspen Daily News

 Details about an hours-long hostage incident on Independence Pass show alleged gunman Brolin McConnell, of Colorado Springs, believed he was in a Truman Show-like scenario and that his life was in danger. Twelve accounts from victims and witnesses were collected and made available from the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office yesterday.

Courtesy of City of Aspen

  Black bears looking for food have caused restrictions at Independence Pass campgrounds, and the U.S. Forest Service has no timeline to reopen those sites to tents.

Courtesy of CDOT

Independence Pass is scheduled to open at noon today.


Mountain Edition - November 5th, 2015

Nov 5, 2015

Good afternoon, it’s Mountain Edition.

Voters in Aspen this week turned down a new lodge proposed on Main Street. Now, the developer is moving forward with an alternative.

With fresh snow, mountain roads are closing and buses are getting outfitted for skis.

Western Slope officials are making their message clear about the statewide water plan.

And, a proposed development in El Jebel has officers realizing there isn’t enough law enforcement in the area.


The Colorado Department of Transportation is planning for a November 6th closing date for Independence Pass, but the predicted ten-to-twelve inches of snow this week may mean an abrupt closing earlier this week.

Independence Pass was temporarily closed due to inclement weather and stuck vehicles this morning. The pass is now open for through traffic.

Colorado Dept. of Transportation

The Pitkin County Commissioners Tuesday (10/6) will review a new law that prohibits semi trucks on Independence Pass. This is the first full season with the restrictions.

House Bill 1021 went into effect last August but local law enforcement officials say some truckers are slow to follow it. If semi trucks 35 feet in length travel over the pass, they can be fined up to $1600. Alex Burchetta with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office says even with the law, tickets are still being handed out.

Hunter Baar


Results are in from testing done after a release of water from Grizzly Reservoir last month turned the Roaring Fork River a dirty yellow.

The discoloration happened in mid-August after a dam problem forced the release of between 10 and 20 acre feet of water from Grizzly Reservoir on Independence Pass. The water flowed into Lincoln Creek and eventually into the Roaring Fork River. It raised alarm because of its color.

Search for missing Aspen man suspended

Jun 8, 2015
Creative Commons/Flickr/Mark Donoher

A search for a missing Aspen man has been called off. Will Graham, 31, went missing Thursday. Law enforcement found his vehicle and some belongings at the Devil’s Punchbowl, a popular summertime recreation spot east of Aspen. A multi-day search ensued, involving overnight patrols and a swift water rescue team. If new information is uncovered, the search will resume. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information to call them at (970) 920-5300.

CDOT: Independence Pass will open Thursday

May 18, 2015

The Colorado Department of Transportation is planning to open Independence Pass to vehicle traffic this week. The winter gates are scheduled to open Thursday.

Crews start in April, clearing the high mountain pass of snow and debris. One of the last steps is avalanche mitigation, where officials from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center set off slides, then road crews clear away the snow. The avalanche work was done Thursday. CDOT spokesperson Tracy Trulove is confident the road will open on time.

Mountain Edition - November 13th, 2014

Nov 13, 2014

Good afternoon and welcome to Mountain Edition. Wintry weather descends on the Roaring Fork Valley this week closing Independence Pass and prompting locals to break out their cold weather gear. Two Roaring Fork Valley residents are renamed to the U.S. Ski Team. Aspen holds its annual Veterans Day service. The Forest Service highlights crowds over-loving backcountry spots, big employers move forward with a plan to make their workers healthier, and politicians in Denver put their ducks in a row after a surprising election.

Creative Commons/Flickr/Mike Johnston

State Representative Millie Hamner carried three times the number of bills this legislative session, than she did in the previous session. The democrat, who represents several Western Slope counties including Pitkin County, chairs the House education committee. She told Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen that she's most proud of two measures that bring hundreds of millions of dollars to Colorado schools.

Fatal Avalanche Big Enough to Destroy a House

Feb 18, 2014
Colorado Avalanche Information Center

A combination of record snow, wind and warming temperatures created a disaster in the backcountry over the weekend. An avalanche on the east-side of Independence Pass Saturday killed two skiers Saturday. And, the state’s avalanche center says it hasn’t seen such large, destructive avalanches in 20 years. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with John Snook, a forecaster at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Garmin International

More commercial truckers are navigating Independence Pass... even though they’re not supposed to. That’s according to the Colorado State Patrol. This summer, officers are doing more to bring those numbers down. And the effort comes as a worldwide GPS company is also trying to get the attention of more drivers.

When traveling east of Aspen on Highway 82, there are several signs warning drivers, saying:

“No trucks over thirty five feet in length can drive up and over Independence Pass.”