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9/23/2013
Colorado races the clock to fix damaged roads and bridges
By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor

Colorado crews are racing to restore flood-damaged highways and bridges before winter sets in. The Colorado Department of Transportation anticipates some temporary fixes in an effort to get traffic moving again. The agency says flooding has destroyed or damaged 200 lane miles of highway and 50 bridges.

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the creation of the Infrastructure Recovery Force on Friday, Sept. 19. The task force will coordinate immediate needs such as brush removal, temporary roads and portable bridges as well as permanent roadway fixes over the longer term.

“It will have three primary objectives: speed, efficiency and to improve our transportation system,” Hickenlooper stated online.

Heavy rains that began Sept. 11 led to flooding in 17 counties. A state of emergency remained in effect in 14 counties as of press time.

CDOT is targeting Dec. 1 to make temporary fixes and get some routes open.

“With winter on our heels, we will be restoring routes to communities that currently have limited access,” CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt stated on the agency’s website.

“Over the next 60 days, our IR Force, with help from the contracting community, National Guard and our state and federal partners, will focus on removing debris and building temporary roads to improve access to as many impacted routes as possible. It is imperative that we restore as much highway infrastructure as possible in the next two to three months.”

Colorado began working with $100 million in state emergency funding, plus $35 million in quick release funds from the Federal Highway Administration, according to a press release. Officials are expecting more as the process moves along.

For road conditions and flooding updates, check out coloradodot.info and cotrip.org on the Web, call 720-263-1589 or 511 within the state, or stay involved via Twitter @ColoradoDOT and via Facebook at facebook.com/coloradodot.

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