Rabbit Ears Pass reopens following 18-hour closure

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— U.S. Highway 40 between Steamboat Springs and Kremmling reopened late Tuesday afternoon following an 18-hour closure.

Strong winds created whiteout conditions with the 18 inches of snow that fell on Rabbit Ears Pass.

Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Scott Elliott said the conditions were the worst he’s seen in his seven years working in Routt County.

“You couldn’t even see the bumper in front of you,” Elliott said. “It was coming down so hard and blowing so hard.”

While standing outside, he said, the wind was strong enough to blow a person across the road. The National Weather Service in Grand Junction measures snowfall but not wind speeds on Rabbit Ears.

Elliott said there were no wrecks leading up to the closure, which the Colorado Department of Transportation announced at 10 p.m. Many cars were stuck in the drifting snow.

CDOT spokeswoman Tracy Trulove said four tow trucks worked throughout the night to remove 21 semis and cars that were stuck.

During the closure, drivers were advised to use Colorado Highway 134 over Gore Pass as a detour.

Colo. 14 between the east side of Rabbit Ears and Walden also was closed Tuesday morning because of hazardous conditions. It reopened Tuesday afternoon.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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