5:00am

Thu September 26, 2013
Business

Boulder County Still Assessing Flood Damage

It’s been just over two weeks since communities in Northern Colorado and Boulder County were hard-hit by floodwaters. The recovery is underway, but damage from the flooding is still being assessed.

KUNC’s Brian Larson spoke to Boulder County is Boulder County Business report publisher Chris Wood about the damage in Boulder.

It’s estimated that the damage bill from Colorado’s flooding could go as high as $2 billion. That’s compared to $50 billion in damages along the East Coast during hurricane Sandy.

A lot of people in Boulder County didn’t have flood insurance so rebuilding will be difficult even with government assistance. Many businesses and nonprofit organizations have stepped up and are working to fill the void. The cities of Boulder and Longmont have also sped up the building-permit process for flood repairs, and have waived or are looking to waive fees.

Interview Highlights:

It’s estimated that 200 miles of roads and 50 bridges were damaged or destroyed in the flooding. How bad are the roads in Boulder County?

“A spokeswoman from the Colorado Department of Transportation told us that 40 percent of U.S. Highway 36 between Boulder and Estes Park is a total loss. Colorado Highway 119 up Boulder Canyon experienced about 20 percent damage. And Colorado Highway 72 in Coal Creek Canyon is half destroyed.”

More than 16,000 homes statewide were damaged by the flood with another 1,900 destroyed. What about the numbers in Boulder County?

“In unincorporated parts of the county, plus Jamestown and Lyons, 349 homes were destroyed. Another 428 had major damage, and more than 3,400 had minor damage. In those same areas, 87 commercial buildings were damaged and four destroyed. Those numbers don’t count any of the hundreds of buildings that were flooded in Boulder and Longmont, where residents and businesses are faced with damages ranging from the thousands of dollars to millions of dollars.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has opened disaster relief centers in the nine counties eligible for assistance. What are the numbers so far?

“As of Monday more than 16,800 households had registered for FEMA assistance, with $22 million approved so far. Additionally, the U.S. Small Business Administration offers disaster-recovery loans for businesses and individuals. So far, the SBA has issued more than 3,700 applications for assistance. So the impact on business has been severe.”

Chris Wood is the publisher of the Boulder County Business Report.