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Officials Celebrate Reopening Of Highway 119 After Flooding

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Ribbon Cutting

(from left to right) Nederland Mayor Joe Gierlach, Gov. John Hickenlooper, Boulder County Commissioner Deb Gardner and CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt (credit: CBS)

BOULDER, Colo. (AP/CBS4) – Gov. John Hickenlooper said Monday that contractors and Colorado highway workers “moved heaven and earth” to get a major highway from Boulder to Nederland finished a week early.

Hickenlooper said in an early Monday morning news conference the reopening of the highway up through Boulder Canyon showed the resilience of Colorado residents. The highway officially reopened Sunday night.

Officials move away the roadblocks on Sunday. (credit: CBS)

Officials move away the roadblocks on Sunday. (credit: CBS)

“The opening of State Highway 119 ahead of schedule is a victory for all of us after last month’s flooding. Colorado is rising to meet this unprecedented challenge to rebuild our communities,” Hickenlooper said.

The governor said the highway was originally scheduled to be reopened in mid- to late-October, but crews worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week to reopen the highway as soon as highway engineers felt it was safe.

The reopening was a big moment for some residents of Nederland who had to drive more than an hour out of the way to get down to Boulder for work and school.

Watch his complete comments at Monday’s ribbon cutting in the video below:

Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Don Hunt said many crew members were personally affected by the flooding that closed the highway on Sept. 12.

Motorists said guardrail, embankment and other work is still underway on the highway shoulders for the next week or so.

The damage to state highways alone is about $430 million, officials said, with 200 miles of roads and 50 bridges destroyed. The flooding also caused eight confirmed deaths and damaged or destroyed nearly 1,800 homes.

Highway officials said much is left to be done to get other highways open before they get snowed in.

They said they are making progress on other highways, including U.S. Highway 36 and U.S. Highway 34 in northern Colorado.

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.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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