SH71 set for a hard-close following flood damage

May 20, 2015 - Northeastern Colorado/CDOT Region 4 - SNYDER – The permanent repair project from the 2013 floods on SH 71 was severely damaged by the 2015 floods which has caused the stretch to be closed indefinitely.

Crews were forced to wait for the water to recede enough to repair the damage beneath the road and replace approximately 80 feet of roadway that washed away. The overtopping occurred while the roadway repairs were incomplete which caused a loss of the roadway. It will take weeks to repair the damage and solidify the roadway. After that, the permanent fixes will continue with traffic continuing.

Detours around the area are clearly marked.

CDOT is working on fixes to this road to keep this from happening in the future. The timing of this latest flooding was unfortunate. However, it did provide further insight into issues in this area which will create a new fix to the road to make it more resilient in future events.

SH 71 in Morgan County provides direct access across the South Platte River between Synder and I-76 at Brush.  During the 2013 flood, approximately 1,000 feet of roadway was overtopped, causing undermining of the roadway pavement and embankment.  In addition, a section of roadway at milepost 181 was completely washed out.  The bridge at milepost 181.5 that spans the main channel of the South Platte River sustained minor erosion around the piers and abutments.

One of the goals in the repair process is to introduce certain improvements beyond bringing the road to standard to roadway facilities that were damaged and make them more resilient to similar storm events in the future.  Having analyzed the damage caused during the flood event, certain design elements will be incorporated in an effort to prevent or lessen the severe damage that significant flood events can cause.