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Copter4 Finally Gets To View Highway 34 Damage

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Big Thompson Canyon (credit: CBS)

Big Thompson Canyon (credit: CBS)

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s been reported that it will take months to repair Highway 34 into Estes Park. On Tuesday for the first time Copter4 was allowed up the Big Thompson Canyon and could see just how much destruction the Big Thompson River wreaked on the highway.

Mile after mile after mile for the 21-mile stretch through the Big Thompson Canyon the power of the Big Thompson River is clear. Huge chunks of Highway 34 are simply gone.

Near the entrance of the canyon through The Narrows the girders remain as the highway climbs. Where it drops to run along the river, sometimes half the road is gone. Other times it simply ceases to exist.

VIDEO: New Copter4 Video Shows Damage Near, In Estes Park

People still in the canyon have ventured onto some of the remaining infrastructure to get a closer look at what’s missing.

PHOTO GALLERY: Copter4 Flies Over Estes Park, Big Thompson

RVs are toppled along the highway as water flows out of Lake Estes, relieving some pressure on all the water flowing around homes and businesses in southeast Estes Park.

The force of the water also punched a hole in a man-made pond.

Crews in one spot are building a temporary bridge, using culverts covered with dirt and held down by concrete barricades.

The river took out land underneath homes and businesses, leaving them hanging on to waterlogged banks.

The roads around Estes Park are like much of Colorado — ragged around the edges.

Estes Park says it’s usually always ready to welcome visitors but right now it needs a little time to rebuild. The Colorado Department of Transportation is hiring contractors this week and hopes to begin working on fixing canyon highways next week.

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