October 15, 2013 5:00 PM, EDT

Colorado Highways Slowly Recover from Flooding

A month after floods devastated roads and bridges in northern Colorado, state officials said they have been able to fully reopen only one highway: State Highway 119, which runs between Boulder and Nederland.


Before the flooding, carriers could serve the mountain communities west of Interstate 25 — including Longmont, Lyons, Loveland and Estes Park — via U.S. routes 34 and 36, which run east across Colorado, into Nebraska. However, large swaths of both highways remain closed.


“We have several main roads that are still closed due to the flooding with the goal of reopening temporary access on Dec. 1,” said Amy Ford, communications director for the Colorado Department of Transportation.


In addition to U.S. 34 and 36, parts of state highways 7 and 72 also are closed in the mountain areas around the same towns, she said.


CDOT has said 50 bridges and 200 highway miles were washed out or badly damaged by the flood waters that crested Sept. 12. The cost of repairs is estimated at $475 million, but that’s just for state-owned roads and bridges, Ford said.


The federal government has sent $35 million in emergency repair funds, and the House and Senate passed bills to lift the $100 million allowable cap on disaster relief funds.


However, the bills have been caught up in the government shutdown because they were not sent to a joint House-Senate conference, a necessary step before President Obama can sign the measure.