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Crews Begin Clearing Out Rubble On Damaged Highways

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Heavy equipment being used to start clearing Highway 34 (credit: CBS)

Heavy equipment being used to start clearing Highway 34 (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – Road crews are out laying the groundwork for the massive rebuilding project after flooding caused damage to Colorado roads.

The crews began clearing out rubble on damaged highways and making way for new pavement and bridges. There is a lot of work to do and the Colorado Department of Transportation wants to get a lot of it done before winter sets in. The deadline for getting some of the roadways back open is Dec. 1.

Highway 34 is now a skeleton of its former self and leaves communities like Estes Park with limited access. The work ahead for CDOT is astounding and so is the agency’s deadline.

“We want to get every state highway reestablished by Dec. 1,” CDOT Executive Director Donald Hunt said.

Work has already begun in the hardest hit areas. Large cranes have been lifting entire trees out of the water in Milliken. Near Greeley pieces of Highway 34 were being hauled out, plucked from the river that is still littered with concrete.

“We’re entering a phase now to get something that’s drivable and safe. That’s very different from the final reconstruction of all of these roadways which will take one and two years to really put back together,” Hunt said.

Bids have been submitted and CDOT will chose contractors over the weekend. The National Guard is also providing resources to get the large scale work underway.

The deadline is just months away and CDOT says it will take dedication to meet the goal.

“We need to take some resources at CDOT, get them carved out of the main part of the organization and focus them 100 percent,” Hunt said.

CDOT says 14 different contractors submitted bids on Friday. Three of them will be chosen over the weekend.

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.

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