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Road Work Gets Underway To Open Major Mountain Highways Before Winter

Hwy 34 at Drake (Photo courtesy of Sheriff Justin Smith)

With over 200 miles of highway to be replaced, the biggest question for many is how long will it all take? December 1st seems like a task that is unreachable but CDOT officials say it’s very possible.

Here is what we know for sure on road damage:

  • 85 percent of U.S. 34 is a total loss
  • 50 percent of Highway 7 is a total loss
  • 40 percent of U.S. 36 is a total loss
  • 20 percent of Highway 119 is a total loss.

We do know the State started accepting bids last Friday to begin work on Hwy 34 up to Estes Park.  It was also apparent to CDOT officials that the roadway still intact may be impassable for repair vehicles etc and the retaining walls along the Big Thompson, although still intact, will probably have to be replaced as well.

The temporary fix to Hwy 36 will begin this week and could be done in two weeks.  The bridge going over the St. Vrain still stands but has been badly compromised so officials will build an Erector Set-type temporary bridge that will be built 10 feet on either side of the current bridge.

The National Guard has been called in as well to immediately start working on building the new road beds for the temporary fixes but it will be at least 3-4 years before permanent roads are in place.

CDOT has already pledged its $100 million contingency fund for emergency repairs. The Federal Highway Administration has provided $35 million.

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