WINTER PARK — Due to above-average snowpack, Corona Pass may not make its traditional July 4 opening.
According to Grand County Commissioner James Newberry, who spoke at the Winter Park Town Council meeting on Tuesday, May 6, the big snow year has created a “dilemma.” While past low-snow years have sometimes allowed the county to plow and open the pass in as few as three days, this year they’re looking at three weeks and a cost of $8,000 to $10,000. That could divert funds and personnel from maintaining other county roads.
“Is that something we need to continue to do for tradition? Is it needed from your perspective?” Newberry asked council members.
The county is not required to plow or open the pass, which is also called Rollins Pass, but their contribution in maintenance of the road has been a cornerstone argument in trying to convince Boulder County officials to get it completely re-opened. The historic pass winds through portions of Grand, Gilpin and Boulder counties, and a small portion has been permanently closed in Boulder County since the early 1990s. Newberry said he plans on meeting with representatives of the three counties and Sen. Mark Udall in the coming weeks to further negotiate opening the pass for the summer months, linking motor vehicle traffic from Winter Park to Rollinsville in Gilpin County.
For the time being, neither the county nor Winter Park town council members have made a decision on when to open the Grand County portion for the summer. They discussed waiting to see if warming weather melted more snow on the pass before July.
“If the workload shrinks, maybe we can figure something out,” said Town Manager Drew Nelson. “I do know people try to travel up there for the Fourth of July.”