A truck driver learned an expensive lesson in Colorado on Wednesday when he was caught using Independence Pass to try to avoid construction related road closures in Glenwood Springs.
Driver Makes Costly Mistake In Trying To Avoid Grand Avenue Bridge Closure
On Wednesday just before 10 a.m., officers from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office cited 36 year old truck driver Louis Zaharias Perez after they were tipped off by a motorist about the presence of a semi truck on Highway 82 through Independence Pass. Perez was issued a $1000 fine for violating a ban on vehicles longer than 35 feet on Independence Pass.
According to Deputy Jesse Steindler, Perez said that Google led him to use Independence Pass in spite of signage warning truckers that they are not allowed: “It was a number of things [on why Perez used the pass], but in his world the [Glenwood Springs bridge closure] was paramount in terms of why he did it. He also said that Google indicated that was the way he could go.”
Steindler said that Perez admitted to seeing the signs banning trucks from the pass: “This was egregious. There are CDOT signs warning anything above 35 feet. He said he saw the signs, but he couldn’t get a way with it.”
More Trucks Expected On Independence Pass Because Of Bridge Closure
Perez was the first truck driver cited for violating the truck ban on Independence Pass since construction began on the Grand Avenue Bridge in Glenwood Springs on Monday. Construction on the bridge is expected to last for three months. CDOT expects that many more truckers will try to use Independence Pass to avoid the Glenwood Springs construction.
Take a look at CDOT’s detour map below.
Trouble viewing the map or looking for more information on the bridge closure? Click here.
Fines can go up to $1500 if a truck using the pass caused road closures or traffic delays.
Because increased fines and signage haven’t worked to keep trucks off the pass in recent years, the Colorado Department of Transportation is working with Pitkin County on a system that uses flashing lights and electronic signs to direct wayward truckers to use a designated turn around area.
The system, worth half a million dollars, isn’t expected to be up and running until late August or early September.
Here’s more information from CDOT on the road closure.
- CO 82 Grand Avenue Bridge in Glenwood Springs between Sixth Street and Eighth Street will be closed.
- Seventh Street from Colorado Avenue to Cooper Avenue will be closed during this time.
- I-70 Exit 114 (west Glenwood) and Exit 116 (Main Glenwood) will remain open.
- There will be no access to CO 82 from I-70 Exit 116, and there will be one-lane traffic in each direction at the interchange.
Northbound (Traveling to north or west Glenwood, and I-70 access)
- Northbound CO 82 will be reduced to one lane near 27th Street.
- Turn left on Eighth Street, right onto Midland Avenue and continue to the I-70 Exit 114 interchange for access to I-70, and north or west Glenwood residential and commercial areas.
Southbound (Traveling to Glenwood Springs and Roaring Fork Valley)
- Westbound Glenwood and I-70 traffic heading to Glenwood Springs or Aspen on CO 82 will be detoured through the I-70 Exit 114 interchange to Midland Avenue.
- Turn left onto Eighth Street, right onto Colorado Avenue, left onto Ninth Street and right onto Grand Avenue to continue up-valley, or access downtown Glenwood Springs residential and commercial areas.