Trail Ridge Road closed for the season
October 29, 2010
Today, Friday, Oct. 29, Trail Ridge Road officially closed for the season to through travel. Since Friday, Oct. 22, the road has been closed due to consistent winter conditions of drifting snow, high winds and below freezing temperatures above 10,000 feet.
Trail Ridge Road, is the highest continuous paved road in America and reaches an elevation of 12,183 feet. The road connects the park’s gateway communities of Estes Park on the east and Grand Lake on the west.
The road is currently closed at Colorado River Trailhead on the west side and Many Parks Curve on the east side.
A major resurfacing project took place this summer and early fall on a 19-mile section of Trail Ridge Road from the Colorado River Trailhead to Rainbow Curve. This project also involved resurfacing of all major overlook parking areas, pull-offs and the parking lot at Alpine Visitor Center. The project was scheduled to take place during two summers but was completed a year ahead of schedule and within budget ($17.2 million).
“We are thrilled that this final project on Trail Ridge Road was completed in one year,” said park superintendent Vaughn Baker. “We have had major work on this one of a kind road for three of the past four years. All aspects of the construction have been funded by the Federal Lands Highway Program for a total of $34.2 million.
“It is the first major work on the road since it was built in 1932,” he added. “Starting next spring, we will have many more decades to come without construction delays on Trail Ridge Road.
The mild fall helped the contractors complete the project, but after recent snowfall accumulation at high elevations in the park, with the accompanying wind and ice, as well as the forecast for periodic storms at high elevations, officials said they decided to officially close Trail Ridge Road for the season.
Snow continues to blow and drift at higher elevations, making snow clearing operations and driving conditions extremely hazardous. During the winter season, weather permitting, the Park Service will keep Trail Ridge Road open to Many Parks Curve on the east side of the park and to the Colorado River Trailhead on the west side of the park.
Average winter closure dates for Trail Ridge Road have been Oct. 23, although oftentimes the road closes earlier and does not reopen.
The central portion of Trail Ridge Road normally opens the last week in May, weather permitting. This year the road opened on May 28.
Old Fall River Road officially closed for the season on Oct. 13.
For current road conditions and other park information, call (970) 586-1206.