Boulder County, Colo. – The entire Northern Front Range and Northeastern plains region has experienced the most devastating flood in Colorado History. Over a 5-day period, more than 15” of rain fell on Boulder County alone, causing extensive road and infrastructure damage throughout the county. Larimer and Jefferson Counties have also incurred significant infrastructure damage.
Despite all county Transportation resources being deployed within the county since the beginning of the storm, there is much roadwork damage that will require extensive repairs over the next several weeks and months, and even years.
“Many residents will be impacted for a long time by the total loss of roads and bridges in some areas,” said Boulder County Transportation Director George Gerstle. “We want to make everyone aware of the amount of work taking place in the county and give you an accurate picture of the preliminary damage assessments that are guiding our efforts as we move forward.”
Since the moment the floodwaters began affecting our county roads, county crews have been out working to provide access for emergency responders, utility companies, and residents cut off by floodwaters. Additionally, crews have been closing dangerous roads, hauling water to communities without water and arranging transportation for evacuees.
Here are some recent major emergency roadway repairs:
- Established connection to Jamestown for residents by replacing several temporary culverts and bridging drainages 20 feet deep and 50 feet across
- Reestablished access to Lee Hill and Olde Stage Rd.
- Reopened Flagstaff Road
- Kept Sunshine Canyon open as only east-west connection to the mountains for residents, utilities and emergency vehicles
- Provided access from Gold Hill nearly to Salina via Gold Run and are working up the Fourmile Canyon, giving access to Logan Mill residents
- Opened up Linden through Pinebrook Hills
- Kept many of the roads in the eastern county open for business throughout the storm
Our focus has now shifted to providing access to communities that remain cut-off by the storm, such as Fourmile Canyon, Lefthand Canyon, Wagon Wheel area and Bow Mountain connections to Pinebrook.
This work has involved building new roads in areas where previous roads have completely disappeared. In many cases, these roads are temporary and for local resident access only. As we gain access to many of the areas that have been severely impacted, we will be evaluating damage and determining how best to quickly restore more permanent access. However, it will take some time before these roads are completely restored.
We have also been evaluating damage of all major roads throughout the county and have identified multiple bridges and structures that have washed out that will need to be reconstructed along with roads that need reconstruction in both the plains and mountains.
“The damage has been so significant that our commuting and recreational patterns have been changed dramatically, and we ask that the community be patience as we work to restore access and infrastructure over the next months and years,” Gerstle said.
Current Status update:
- Access North to South in Boulder County is largely intact east of Broadway Ave. (Hwy 93 South/US36 North).
- 95th street between Valmont and Lookout, N.83rd at the Larimer County line, and East County Line at SH 119 near Longmont is still closed.
- West of Broadway, the only North/ South access between Estes Park on the North to I-70 on the South is Hwy 72/119, the Peak to Peak Highway.
- The only East/West route is Sunshine Canyon from Peak to Peak to Boulder. We are limiting access to Sunshine Canyon in the following way:
- Local residents
- Utilities and contractors with verifiable business to residential homes or businesses
- No recreational traffic will be allowed on Sunshine Canyon.
- Hwy 72 (Coal Creek Canyon) is closed to all but emergency traffic and utilities. Access to some residents can happen from Hwy 72 (Peak to Peak) down to Wonderview.
- Flagstaff has been damaged from Gregory Canyon to Panorama Point. The road is down to one lane controlled by cones and one-way traffic light. Access limited to residence and legitimate business. Gross Reservoir is closed to recreational activities. Gross Dam Road is closed to through traffic.
- Boulder Canyon is closed indefinitely after CDOT engineer’s assessment not only of the road integrity by the canyon wall stability. There is no access to Boulder Canyon from Nederland, Magnolia, Sugarloaf, or Hurricane Hill. These areas to go west to SH 72 (Peak to Peak)
- Limited access from SH 119 will be given to residents of lower 119, and we’re working right now to provide access to Fourmile Canyon Drive through to Gold Hill
- We are asking that those residents confine their trips as the traffic on the roads is interfering with CDOT crews working in the canyon as well as Fourmile Canyon.
- Linden is open to residents, utilities and verifiable business only
- USFS has closed the National Forest to all recreational purposes in Boulder County East of the Peak to Peak Highway.
- Lee Hill is closed at 4th street. Access will be granted to residents and legitimate business
- US 36 north is closed at the Middle Fork Bridge. Residence of Crestview Estates can access their homes.
- Lower Left Hand is open to the 1.3 mm for residence. It is closed from the 1.3 mm to the Peak to Peak.
- James Canyon is closed from the Junction of Left Hand to Jamestown.
- Overland Rd from Hwy 72 is closed to residents, utilities and emergency vehicles only
- US 36 closed at Hwy 66 due to structural damage to the bridge.
- US 36 closed into and out of Lyons to Estes Park
- Hwy 7 closed from Lyons to Hwy 72 (Peak to Peak)
As Winter Approaches
As we approach winter, crews will continue to plow roads as close to our normal routes as possible, and we’ll be working throughout the winter to keep these roads open to the extent poss. However, people should expect more closures should it be a bad winter. Particularly in the mountains, residents will have to be extremely cautious as they are temporary and will be subject to wash-out and require frequent repairs.
Especially during the coming months, as CDOT works to restores the major routes throughout the county, we ask people to stay out of the mountains and ask that the road be used by residents and those working to help residents restore their lives.
Contact: Barbara Halpin, Boulder County
720-564-2935 (EOC Media Line)
Images: Examples of road damage in Boulder County. Source: Boulder County Transportation Department