FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 3, 2013
Contact: Barb Halpin, 303-441-1622
Boulder County Transportation – Briefs
Challenges continue for navigating and repairing flood-damaged areas of Boulder County
In addition to keeping an updated map and chart of Boulder County road closures, Boulder County has established a “Roads Hotline” at 303-441-3928 (staffed from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday). Residents and visitors with questions about county roads, culverts and bridges damaged by the flood can call this number for information.
GPS & MAPPING
The unprecedented destruction of roads and private property in Boulder County, especially in the central foothills and mountain areas, has rendered many roads impassable to public traffic. GPS devices and online mapping services may not be keeping up with road closures on a “real time” basis. The safest bet to ensure an accurate picture of open roadways in Boulder County is to check the Road Closures page on www.BoulderCountyFlood.org.
PUBLIC SAFETY & ROAD MAINTENANCE
Boulder County officials have made it an immediate priority to repair and reconstruct county roads and bridges damaged in the flood. Mountain residents are asked to minimize trips into and out of damaged areas to allow road crews to do repairs. Additionally, visitors and plains residents are requested to curtail recreation in the mountain areas between these points:
- U.S. 36 (Foothills Hwy) and Hwy 72/Hwy 7 (Peak to Peak) (central west and northwest Boulder County)
- Hwy 93/Hwy 7 and Hwy 72/Hwy 119 (southwest Boulder County)
Travel is permissible along the Peak to Peak Highway, north to south. Visitors can access the Towns of Nederland and Allenspark in Boulder County and Estes Park in Larimer County along Peak to Peak Highway (SH 72/119/7).
“It is incredibly difficult to rebuild roads with people on them, so please avoid the damaged mountain roads unless absolutely necessary, and minimize even residential trips to keep roads clear for heavy equipment and emergency vehicles,” said George Gerstle, Boulder County Transportation Director. “It is difficult and takes much longer for the crews to fix a road with traffic on it. The fewer people using the road, the faster we can get the work done.”
COUNTY ROAD REPAIRS
Boulder County Transportation is receiving many questions about when county roads in the unincorporated areas will be repaired and permanently restored. Recognizing that restoring all damaged facilities to pre-flood condition is an enormous task, the county is currently conducting a comprehensive damage assessment that will help establish long-term priorities and plans for infrastructure restoration.
County Transportation is currently working on several parallel tracks to restore immediate access, ensure public safety, and develop long term priorities and plans for infrastructure restoration:
- Residential Mountain Access: County road crews are working to restore minimal safe access to areas that are currently inaccessible. This activity is taking place largely in the mountain areas so that residents can inspect homes and utilities can be restored. The county will continue working to maintain minimal safe access to mountain areas through the winter.
- Damage Assessment: The County has completed damage assessments for approximately 67% of its road and bridge facilities. Most of the facilities still to be assessed for damage are in mountain areas that remain inaccessible. County road crews are constructing 4 wheel drive/ATV accesses to these areas so that the county can assess current conditions and flood damage.
- Road and Bridge Restoration: For road and bridge facilities where damage is known, the County is developing cost estimates in order to design and construct permanent repair and replacement facilities. Right now this primarily involves roads and bridges on the plains in eastern Boulder County. Due to the impending winter season, construction will take place predominantly in the spring. However, if there is construction activity that can be undertaken during the winter effectively and appropriate, the county will pursue this possibility.
- Stabilizing Bridges: There are several bridges and roads that sustained damage due to creeks leaving their pre-flood channels. The County is working to realign and restore creeks in select places where doing so presents further damage and allows existing bridges to function as they were intended.
As winter approaches, crews will plow roads and keep roads open to the best extent possible. However, there may be a need for new and additional closures, should snowfall be heavy. In the mountains, residents will need to be extremely cautious as roads, particularly those that now provide minimal safe access, may be subject to wash-out conditions and require frequent repairs.
For public safety reasons and in order to allow crews to do their work, Boulder County’s Road Maintenance Division is requesting motorists to please be aware of the following issues.
- Drive slowly and carefully; hazards that previously could be seen and avoided may be hidden after a snowfall.
- Many roads are only one lane in places which will require extra diligence and courtesy on every driver’s part.
- Give the right of way to oncoming snow removal equipment, it will be much easier for a car or pickup to find a location to stop or pull over than it will be for our large snow removal equipment.
- Be aware that county roads that are not affected by damage may experience minor delays for snow removal due to diverted resources.
- Allow extra time for travel in those areas affected by the flood rough roads, steep shoulder drop offs, single lane roads, visibility and other hazards will require everyone’s attention and vigilance.