ESTES PARK, Colo. (CBS4) – There are still signs that the flooding disaster is nowhere close to being resolved in Estes Park.
There are still several highways leading into Estes Park that are closed, but on Saturday officials with the Colorado Department of Transportation announced they have opened an emergency route to the town.
Water from Fall River, which flows into Estes Park from Rocky Mountain National Park, has wiped out homes and eroded miles of land. Roads are gone from Fish Creek, which usually runs at a trickle. But it’s below Estes Park that is the area hit hardest.
“The concrete bridge is still there but the approach from both sides is gone, so there was no getting across the bridge,’ Larimer County resident Anne Heiden said.
The Big Pine Lane Bridge is impassable. Just a few yards down Highway 34 there’s a massive hole where the road no longer exists.
“The firemen came and hollered at us from across the way and asked us how many of us there were and if we needed anything. And yea, we needed medication and things like that,” Heiden said.
The firefighters from Estes Valley and a crew stranded there from Loveland picked a bridge that was still intact as an exit route for the 22 neighbors.
“We hiked up the mountain on the other side and then they brought us down and they let us repel, those of us who were able to repel, and then they took the rest down in baskets,” Heiden said.
The group on a bus ranged from toddlers to adults. They spent overnight in a shelter, but they’re just happy to be safe.
“They worked all afternoon to get us down and we’re very grateful for these tremendous people,” Heiden said. “We’re going to be very, very thankful that there are going to be people who will risk life and limb for us.”
Estes Park town administrators said with so much damage throughout the state they’re concerned that resources to fix the highway to get from Estes Park to the Front Range will be hard to come by.
Colorado Floods: How To Help
The recent floods are impacting families and communities throughout Colorado, so CBS4 has compiled a list of ways you can support the local communities impacted by the floods.