WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – The eastbound U.S. 36 Emergency Rebuild Project has moved into a permanent construction phase, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

View of U.S. 36 on August 6, 2019 (credit: CBS)

Crews with CDOT’s contracted partner, Kraemer North America, have been working for several weeks to clear away the damaged road between Wadsworth Blvd. and 104th/Church Ranch Blvd.

Before removing the retaining wall, CDOT crews moved two eastbound lanes to the westbound side with a concrete barrier. Traffic is expected to return to normal by October, weather permitting.

(credit: CDOT)

“Since the outset of this event, CDOT and our partners have worked together to respond rapidly, provide consistent operations on U.S. 36 for travelers during construction, and work towards long-term repair as efficiently as possible,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “We thank the project team for their hard work, our neighbors in Westminster for their support in mobilizing the construction site, and the traveling public for their continued patience and attention to safety.”

The CDOT design team worked with Kraemer and consultant experts David Evans and Associates Inc. and RJ Engineering to create technical designs for the project.

After picture of U.S. 36 damage (credit: Kevin Falkenstein)

Crews will drill caissons into the bedrock of the damaged highway and place a material called geofoam behind the retaining wall in place of the previous backfill.  According to CDOT, geofoam is a lightweight backfill that reduces pressure and stress to the underlying soil. Officials say the material is strong enough safely support highway loading and also improve slope stability. The geofoam is being produced by Insulfoam, which has a local plant in Aurora.

(credit: Colorado Department of Transportation)

“I am confident that this design team – with careful consideration and expertise – has determined the best solution to create a permanent fix that is safe for the traveling public,” said Region 1 Transportation Director Paul Jesaitis. “This project team has worked diligently and put in countless hours to ensure safety is the top priority. We thank all motorists for their patience during this project, and we ask residents to continue driving with caution through the traffic shift as the rebuild phase begins.”

CDOT officials say U.S. 36 is safe to travel and is being monitored at all times. During the permanent construction phase, crews will work up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in 12-hour shifts to complete the emergency rebuild project.

KEY FACTS:
• The roadway started to crack July 11-12 and the cracks got significantly worse as the roadway shifted, causing the part of the road to cave in and the retaining wall to fall apart.
• The westbound side and adjacent bridge in the area are safe and in good condition. The bridge has its own support system entirely, with a steel concrete foundation that goes deep into the bedrock. The bridge has been separated from the damaged section of the roadway by CDOT’s bridge crew.
• The damage is isolated to a specific area of eastbound US 36.
• In an abundance of caution, the survey team continues to monitor the damaged section of roadway. Surveys show there continues to be no movement on the westbound side. It is stable and safe for traffic.
• The bike path over the railroad bridge is also closed for safety reasons. A detour is in place.
• The new traffic shift is in place on the westbound side. The Express Lane and shoulder in this area are operating as general purpose lanes for eastbound traffic (No tolls are applied to this section, but Express Lanes are operating as normal outside of the traffic configuration)
• Travel in this area will be slower than usual, so motorists are advised to expect some delays and give themselves extra time when traveling the corridor during peak periods.

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