Mount Evans, Independence Pass Highways Will Open Late Due To Coronavirus

<p>(Courtesy Flickr user&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Carolyn Cuskey</a>/Creative Commons)</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>The view from Independence Pass between Aspen and Leadville. </p>

The Colorado Department of Transportation has granted local requests to keep Independence Pass and Mt. Evans Scenic Byway closed for longer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Independence Pass, or Colorado Highway 82, will remain closed until at least June 1. Colorado Highway 5 on Mt. Evans will be closed until at least July 1.

"This decision was made in light of the coronavirus health care crisis," said CDOT spokesperson Tamara Rollison. "A Memorial Day opening creates a challenge to properly manage social distancing."

CDOT typically aims to get Independence Pass open the Thursday before Memorial Day. The decision to delay was made in collaboration with nearby counties, the U.S. Forest Service and Denver Mountain Parks, Rollison said.

Pitkin and Lake counties asked CDOT to keep Highway 82 closed for an extra week and a half. The counties are discouraging tourists and second-home owners from visiting during the coronavirus pandemic. Plus, Forest Service facilities won't be open before June anyway.

Trail Ridge Road through the Rocky Mountain National Park will also remain closed until further notice. Rollison said the reopening will depend on when the National Park Service decides to reopen RMNP.