Cottonwood and Kebler close to opening for summer

Cottonwood scheduled for May 26, Kebler still needs work

[  By Katherine Nettles  ]

The notorious local questions of whether Kebler and Cottonwood Pass are open may be reaching their highest pitch in the final weeks of May, but the answer to both is still a firm no, according to Gunnison County public works staff. 

Cottonwood is scheduled to open first on Thursday, May 26 at 4 p.m. The opening is scheduled after Gunnison Nordic’s 2nd Annual Cottonwood Classic event is complete. The 25-mile bike ride to the top of Cottonwood takes place earlier in the day from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and the road will remain closed to motorized vehicles until after the event is cleared. After the 4 p.m. opening, Cottonwood Pass will remain open for the season, although conditions will vary with the weather. 

Kebler is more complicated, as public works director Marlene Crosby explained in a report to Gunnison County commissioners on Tuesday, May 17. But it will be open by Memorial Day weekend.

“We’re a little late on Kebler this year because we are addressing some water issues,” said Crosby. She said her crews are dealing with a fast snowmelt, fallen trees and branches and clearing out culverts so that water is channeled appropriately. She said it is important to get as much roadway maintenance and repairs done as possible on Kebler before it opens and the inevitable rush of vehicles arrive.  

Crosby said that her department has been getting some pressure from Irwin residents to help clear the roads into and past Irwin townsite and up to the lake as well. 

“We busted a few drifts when we could and that has now evolved into an expectation that we will always plow up to and into the townsite,” she said. 

County commissioner chairperson Jonathan Houck noted that those roads are not the county’s responsibility and that folks who choose to live outside service areas cannot realistically expect services to follow them out of town. 

“Our crews are already spread thin, and we have to prioritize our county roads,” he said. 

Gothic Road has been held up as well due to avalanche damage
to a bridge over the East River. “So the road will not open until the engineers have assessed the damage,”
said Crosby.

Check Also

Met Rec debating recreation tax proposal for North Valley

How much? For who? Would it even pass in this economic climate? [  By Mark …