Spring start for permanent road repairs means new jobs

LOVELAND – Construction to permanently repair U.S. 34 is slated to start this spring and will likely bring a surge of new hiring to Northern Colorado as contractors staff up to launch projects,  a Colorado Department of Transportation official said Wednesday.

Johnny Olson, infrastructure recovery force incident commander, also said that road repair projects will be advertised to potential contractors early next year.

Olson made the comments Wednesday at the Regional Issues Summit held by the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance, the lobbying arm of the region’s chambers of commerce. Panelists such as Olson discussed issues facing Northern Colorado, including recovery from September flooding.

Audience members applauded the transportation department’s efforts to temporarily repair U.S. 34, which the state fully opened Nov. 21, ahead of a Dec. 1 deadline. Olson, however, said that the state needed to do more work on the highway inundated by the flooded Big Thompson River in mid-September.

Flooding that washed out sections of the highway cut off communities between Loveland and Estes Park for more than two months until crews rebuilt the highway.

The state has estimated state highways and bridges battered by flood waters will cost a total of $475 million to repair permanently.


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