Though scheduled for a reopening on Dec. 1, the 15-mile stretch of U.S. Route 36 from Lyons to Estes Park could be ready even earlier if a Colorado Department of Transportation and National Guard collaboration is successful.
CDOT spokeswoman Ashley Mohr said that section of the highway, used by an average of 8,000 vehicles daily, will ideally open days before the December deadline.
“If the weather cooperates, we’ll be ahead of schedule,” Mohr said. “We’re in the process of stabilizing the roadway, filling in areas that were washed out.”
The road closed on Sept. 26, with 18 different sites needing repairs. Four have been completed so far. Like other areas along 36 with severe flood damage, the Lyons to Estes route is currently permit-only, with a checkpoint at the intersection of 36 and Highway 66.
This specific project is one of a kind in the collaboration between CDOT and members of the National Guard from Colorado, Utah and Kansas. CDOT usually works with private contractors.
“It was really just happenstance,” Mohr said. “The Guard stepped in to help us enforce the road closures after the flooding. They became familiar with the area and said, Hey, we’re already up here and have the equipment. They jumped at the opportunity for the partnership.”