Reopening of 119 cheers Nederland
Last Updated: 15:43 October 7, 2013
The Colorado Department of Transportation said Sunday's reopening of the road was a week ahead of schedule. Highway 119 was closed on Sept. 12, after flooding damaged several sections of it. Gov. John Hickenlooper performed a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday morning.
"We're really hoping to get some people in the next couple of weekends. Hopefully that will make a difference (here) and in Estes Park, too," Dan Ball, co-owner of B&F Mountain Market in Nederland, said Monday.
Grocery business in the last couple of weeks was "solid" from mountain-community customers who didn't want to make the hour-and-a-half detour trek down to Boulder while the direct canyon route was being repaired, Ball said. Nederland motorists had to drive south past Black Hawk to Interstate 70 or U.S. Highway 6 in Golden, then north on Colorado 93 to get to Boulder while the road was closed. A trip down Boulder Canyon from Nederland typically takes 20 to 30 minutes.
Tourist-oriented businesses are hoping to make up the deficit from the last few weekends in the next few weeks of October, Ball said.
Nature's Own rock shop workers are extremely grateful to the workers who repaired the road, said Suzanne Titus, a clerk. Nature's Own expects to see busy October weekends "depending on the weather and leaves," Titus said.
Some small businesses cut worker hours while the road was closed, said Joe Gierlach, Nederland mayor. But the town's general sales tax revenue is up so far for the year, Gierlach said. Sales tax revenue is collected in arrears, meaning there are no specific statistics yet on how businesses fared during the road closure, Gierlach said.
Anecdotally, however, the Nederland economy benefitted from visits from neighboring mountain communities during the road closure, Gierlach said. More workers will continue to drive through town on their way to Jamestown and Estes Park, and they're buying gas and groceries, he said. Nederland was not directly affected by flooding, he said.
"It's beautiful up here. Leaf-peeping season is in full bloom, and we have an increased amount of traffic coming through Nederland, with trucks and workers and earth-moving vehicles," Gierlach said. "Now that Boulder Canyon has opened, it's a much easier route."
Two other main routes remain closed between the foothills and the mountains to the north of Nederland. U.S. 34 between Loveland and Estes Park remains closed, as does U.S. 36 between Lyons and Estes Park and Colorado 7 between Lyons and its junction with Colorado 72 south of Allenspark.
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