Nov 14, 2013 1:14 AM by Kirsten Boyd
32 highway miles out of 485 miles damaged or destroyed by the September flood remain closed, leaving the state's recovery effort on track to meet a Dec. 1 goal of reconnecting communities and reopening closed highways.
The latest highway to reopen is State Highway (SH) 72 between SH 93 and SH 119. The highway -- heavily damaged in the flooding -- reopened Monday, two weeks ahead of schedule.
"The Colorado Department of Transportation and local partners are making tremendous progress in restoring full access to communities impacted by the floods," Gov. John Hickenlooper said.
Two highways -- U.S. 34 and SH 7 -- remain closed. They are projected to reopen on or before Dec. 1.
To complete the repairs along SH 72, crews removed 2,400 cubic yards of debris, placed more than 16,400 tons of fill, 3,875 tons of base course, 3,000 tons of asphalt, 500 feet of reinforced pipe and 10,100 tons of rip rap and rock.
While SH 72 is now open to all traffic, some minor work remains including culvert and shoulder repairs. To complete the work, there will be single-lane alternating traffic Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the speed limit will be reduced to 30 mph through Coal Creek Canyon. The remaining work is expected to be complete in mid to late December.
More than 1,200 Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Office of Emergency Management (OEM), National Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) workers continue to collaborate on projects addressing the needs of Coloradans impacted by the September flooding:
-100 percent of impacted dams and bridges have been inspected; 90 percent of oil spills have been inspected and 65 percent of damaged homes have been inspected.
-Of the more than 18,000 people forced to leave their homes due to the flooding, only 139 families remain in temporary housing provided via the Temporary Sheltering Assistance program.
-The deadline for FEMA Individual Assistance applications is Nov. 30 for people in the 11 counties approved for Individual Assistance. As of Nov. 11, total funding allocated is $52.4 million and, as of this week, more than 27,000 people have applied and 15,682 applications have been approved.
-As of Nov. 11, the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved $64.7 million in low-interest disaster loans to 1,412 homeowners and 187 businesses. SBA loans are available to Colorado homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofit organizations that have experienced physical or economic injury due to the flooding. SBA loan applications are due by Nov. 30.
-As of this week, FEMA Public Assistance has allocated $9.45 million in funding to applicants in the 20 counties eligible for Public Assistance. Deadlines for applications are Nov. 16 for counties approved in September and Nov. 20 for counties added in October.