The Colorado Department of Transportation says Highway 133 will likely remain closed through Friday, following a huge rockslide that occurred early Sunday morning. CDOT says the slide came down 13 miles south of the McClure Pass Summit, near Paonia Reservoir.
CDOT Spokesperson Nancy Shanks says the biggest rocks on the roadway measure about the size of a dump truck (30′ by 15′ by 10′). At least one of the rocks made an impression in the pavement that is about 2′ deep by 12′ long by 10′ wide.
Crews from Yenter Companies will perform rock scaling (prying loose rock off the hillside) through Wednesday. Once the rock scaling is completed, they will use explosives to make the boulders small enough to be hauled away.
Highway 133 will remain closed Northbound at mile 28 and Southbound at mile 29.5. In order for motorists to reach Carbondale, Aspen and Glenwood Springs from Paonia, they will need to drive west on State Highway 92 to State Highway 65 (DeBeque Cutoff), then east on Interstate 70 to State Highway 82 (Glenwood Springs) — a detour of about 140 miles. Travelers needing to reach Paonia from Aspen, Glenwood and Carbondale would simply use the reverse route.
Access to Marble, Redstone, and the Crystal River Valley from Carbondale will not be affected by this week’s closure.
Sunday’s rockslide came from higher on the same hillside as one on that occurred on April 27, 2007.
ASPEN, Colo. (AP) – Transportation officials say they are on track to open Independence Pass by Memorial Day weekend.
The Colorado Department of Transportation says it’s working with avalanche experts to clear as many as 12 slide paths that can affect the road. Not all the paths present a threat every spring.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center says about 3 feet of snow covers the roadway on the west side of the pass. That’s 83 percent of average for this time of year. On the east side of the pass, the snowpack is 21 inches, or 100 percent of average.
Crews hope to have the pass open by May 23, the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend. Last year, mild conditions allowed crews to open the pass May 11.