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Drivers Rejoice: US 34 Between Loveland And Estes Park Reopening Permanently

Colorado Department of Transportation
Crews work to repair the damaged section of US highway 34 between Loveland and Estes Park.

A major stretch of US highway 34 through Big Thompson Canyon is set to reopen just in time for the Memorial Day holiday.

The route will be accessible to the public starting May 24 at 4 p.m., said Johnny Olson, Colorado Department of Transportation regional director.  

“The Thursday before Memorial weekend we will be opening that up,” he said.

Olson said to expect night work and various projects along the route for the next several months. More guardrail and paving work along the Big Thompson River is expected through this fall, but shouldn’t impact traffic, he said.

The road has been shut down for long periods of time as part of an ongoing project to construct a new roadway, following floods in September 2013 that washed out parts of the highway. The additions are meant to make it more resilient to high water and future flooding.

In a statement, James Usher, CDOT project director said he thanked residents for their patience during the road’s six-month closure.

“As the highway opens this coming week, my hope is that everyone can let out a big sigh of relief knowing that not only the highway and river system is now much stronger but that the canyon community and the communities the canyon connects are stronger as well,” Usher said.

According to CDOT, crews added riprap (rock) to the route, as well as grout between the rocks to protect against erosion.

The estimated total cost of the repairs was $280 million. 

The six months of work included:

  • Excavating 3,500 square yards of asphalt and hauled away 32,000 cubic yards of roadbase material;
  • Installing 8,800 tons of rock material beneath the road surface;
  • Putting in 475 cubic yards of grout in between the rocks;
  • Laying 675 tons of asphalt road base;
  • Completing 500 feet of river restoration; and
  • Crushing 15,000 cubic yards of subbase and topsoil.

I cover a wide range of issues within Colorado’s dynamic economy including energy, labor, housing, beer, marijuana, elections and other general assignment stories.
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