12:41pm

Mon November 4, 2013
Colorado Flood

Open Early, 36 Now Another Route Into Estes Park

Members of the Utah Army National Guard’s 1457th Engineer Battalion continue their work to repair roadways in Colorado a month after a devastating flood washed away homes and roads. Taken Oct. 5 2013.
Credit 2nd Lt. Angela Brees, Kansas Air National Guard Public Affairs / Flickr/creative commons

Almost eight weeks after September’s flooding, Estes Park residents now have one more route into and out of town.

U.S. 36 from Lyons to Estes Park will be open to drivers starting Monday – about a month ahead of schedule.

Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Amy Ford says crews spent last week finishing up paving and guard-rail work. Ford emphasizes that workers will have to return after the winter to finalize the project.

So far about 75 percent of the state's damaged roads have been rebuilt.

“Some of the barriers for instance won’t be permanent. They’ll be temporary jersey barriers, those concrete barriers that you see during construction projects. So some of those kinds of elements will be what you’ll see out on the roadway and we still have work to do to make it a more final complete road,” she said.

Highway 7 from Nederland remains open, while Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park has been closed for the season.

Crews are still working to reconnect U.S. 34 between Loveland and Estes Park.

Ford says strong partnerships with the National Guard and community members helped crews to finish the rebuilding on U.S. 36 ahead of time.

“Good weather, total commitment, and a great partnership with also the community members who were very understanding as we went in and did the construction about how that impacted things like their access and were very accommodating to let us do our work,” she said.

Governor John Hickenlooper set Dec. 1 as a deadline for reconnecting all of Colorado’s roads damaged by flooding, a deadline which Ford says CDOT is on track to hit.

So far about 75 percent of the state’s damaged roads have been rebuilt.