Big Thompson Canyon Gets Upgrades, Drivers Detoured

By Andrea Flores

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– A three-mile section of US Highway 34 will be getting a much needed upgrade, causing detours and delays.

People who live and work in the area will have to find a new way to get from Loveland to Estes Park starting Monday.

“We’re concerned we won’t get the business that we usually do,” says Colorado Cherry Company Manager Karen Francis.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Colorado Cherry Company, a popular spot for out-of-towners, sits right at the end of the construction zone.

US 34 will remain closed between mile markers 77 and 80 until May 2017. Colorado Department of Transportation crews will remove 200,000 cubic yards of rock from the canyon.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The area sustained significant damage in both the 1976 and 2013 floods.

CDOT has made temporary repairs, but says new construction will provide a permanent fix.

Francis hopes signs posted around Colorado Cherry Company will encourage regulars to keep coming in.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“We’re hoping still come by and get their pies, their juice and ciders, and everything they need for the holidays,” Francis said.

Cecyle Haley planned to take friends on a scenic drive through the area next week, but has to find a new way to make it up the mountain.

“We’ll still get to Estes, but we won’t be able to go there through US 34, I guess,” said Haley.

Big Thompson Canyon after the flooding in September, 2103  (credit: CBS)

Big Thompson Canyon after the flooding in September, 2103 (credit: CBS)

Permits have been issued to people living in the Big Thompson Canyon allowing them to follow pilot cars through the three-mile work zone between the hours of 6 and 8:30 a.m. and 4 and 7 p.m.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Until then, drivers can use Colorado Highway 66 and US Highway 36 for travel from Loveland to Estes Park.

Andrea Flores is a reporter for CBS4. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @AndreaFloresTV.


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