Trail Ridge Road scheduled to open Friday
Grand County, CO Colorado
The highest continuous paved highway in the U.S., Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park, is slated to open on the Friday before Memorial Day, May 28.
Plow operators began clearing the snow on the highway in April, with crews from both the east and west sides meeting in the center at the highest visitor center of the National Park Service, the Alpine Visitor Center at 11,796 feet above sea level.
Closed during the winter months, Trail Ridge Road can accumulate drifts from 18 to 22 feet high.
The earliest date the road opened was on May 7, 2002, and the latest date the road opened was on June 26, 1943.
The road usually closes in mid- to late-October.
Park visitors can expect 20 to 30 minute delays through construction areas on Trail Ridge Road this season.
With multiple areas of construction that could occur concurrently, the combined delay time will not exceed 60 minutes, according to Park spokesperson Kyle Patterson. There may be some temporary night closures as well, she said.
In the summers of 2010 and 2011, a $17 million resurfacing project will take place from the Colorado River Trailhead to Rainbow Curve (the switchbacks and the alpine section) on roughly 20 miles of road.
Funded by the Federal Lands Highway Program, the construction project will also involve resurfacing of all major overlook parking areas, pull-offs and the parking lot at the Alpine Visitor Center.
The entire road, which was completed in 1932 and connects the gateway towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake, traverses the park for 48 miles. About 11 miles of road is above treeline.
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