Feds offer $35 million for road, bridge repairs
Last Updated: 16:28 September 18, 2013
USDOT said in a press release that preliminary damage cost estimates statewide total $152 million: $40 million for roads and $112 million for bridges.
"Repairing the damage to roads and bridges from these floods is going to be one of our largest challenges," said Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., in a prepared statement. "Rebuilding will take time, but these critical resources will help crews get to work right away. This is just the beginning of a long recovery effort, and we will rise to the occasion to rebuild better than before."
Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Amy Ford said Tuesday that CDOT is still adding up the total number of highway miles damaged by floods in Colorado. Early estimates are that 30 bridges have been destroyed and about 20 more damaged, she said.
In addition to the federal funding received, Ford said, the CDOT transportation commission on Thursday will turn over its entire contingency fund of $100 million to provide immediate impact for flood-repair efforts. Ford said CDOT then will apply for reimbursement for a large chunk of those funds through the USDOT.
Repair work already has begun on some sections of highway CDOT crews can access, including portions of Colorado Highway 119 in Boulder Canyon and Colorado 14 in Larimer County.
Reconnecting mountain communities cut off by the flood damage is the top priority, Ford said. U.S. 34 between Loveland and Estes Park, U.S. 36 between Boulder and Estes Park, Colorado 119 between Boulder and Nederland and Colorado 72 west of Colorado 93 are highest on the list.
CDOT issued requests for proposals to fix those roads on Tuesday, and hopes to have contracts awarded by the end of the week, with work beginning next week.
Ford said the intent is to have temporary access restored to towns such as Nederland and Estes Park before winter. That could mean using devices such as temporary bridges in certain spots or short detours off the highways to provide a safe path until more extensive work can be done next summer.
"All things are on the table right now as we're considering this," Ford said. "The important thing is to reconnect these communities."
After the repair phase is completed and access restored, Ford said, CDOT will start looking at longer-term solutions for making the highways stronger and better. She said the timeline for permanent reconstruction is uncertain.
Mountain roads aren't the only areas affected. One of the three main "response teams" being contracted by CDOT will focus on highways on the plains to the east, while the other two will focus on mountain highways.
East of Longmont, Colorado 119, the main path into town from Interstate 25, remains closed between County Line Road and I-25 in Weld County.
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