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CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. — Mount Evans Highway opened to the summit on Friday, two weeks later than its traditional opening and in time for the Mount Evans Ascent race, the Colorado Department of Transportation said Friday.

The highway, one of the most scenic summer drives in the state, usually opens the Friday before Memorial Day.

But a winter and spring that saw huge amounts of snow kept the highway to the summit of the 14,265-foot mountain in Clear Creek County closed until 8 a.m. Friday as maintenance crews cleared the road.

Crews began clearing snow from the gates at Echo Lake Lodge to the summit in early May. Crews used five pieces of machinery, including a bulldozer, snow cat and snowblower, to remove snow and ice.

The highway will close at 8 p.m. Friday until noon Saturday for the Mount Evans Ascent race. It will then reopen to the public as normal.

While the highway, the highest paved road in North America, is open, CDOT officials said remaining snow surrounding the road will make for a slower drive to the top.