LYONS, Colo. (CBS4) – The Colorado Department of Transportation is making lots of repairs and strengthening roads on Highway 36 in order to protect them from future flooding.
Highway 36 was closed in both directions between Lyons and Estes Park on Monday for what was supposed to be three hours but ended up being more than five, angering some drivers and residents.
CDOT said the project is being done to strengthen roads and help protect them from future floods.
Road crews blasted the sides to widen the highway and use the resulting debris to stabilize slopes near the river.
“We’re moving the highway from being on top of silt and soil and more fragile type of materials to bedrock,” said a CDOT representative.
After September’s floods road crews noticed roads on bedrock held their ground.
“The river’s not going to be able to pull that away as easily this time,” the CDOT representative said.
More than 30 blasts are planned for mountainsides all along the highway with each one resulting in two- to three-hour closures while crews clean up debris.
The blasts are scheduled Monday through Friday until mid-May in a race against spring runoff.
Residents and drivers must be prepared to wait or go around on Highway 37 as crews move mountains to prevent future floods from wreaking havoc again.
CDOT wants to ask and thank residents for their patience during the process.