US 34 Project makes substantial progress

March 14, 2017 - Northeastern Colorado/CDOT Retion 4 - Canyon to open before Memorial Day; lots of work still to come

LARIMER COUNTY – The Colorado Department of Transportation and Kiewit Infrastructure Co. have been hard at work on the permanent repairs on the US 34 corridor and are on schedule to re-open the canyon before Memorial Day 2017.

“Under the current traffic control plans, Kiewit was able to complete parts of the first phase of construction faster than anticipated. This has allowed us to start an additional rock cut and begin bridge construction at the Horseshoe curve during this winter’s full closure. Doing so is great news, because it means we are accomplishing more work, while still staying on track to open the full closure just before Memorial Day this year,” said James Usher, project director.

But there is a still a lot of work to go after the canyon opens.

On Oct. 17, 2016, the canyon closed to all through-traffic in order to maintain public safety during heavy rock blasting work. Since then, noticeable progress has been made, allowing for work originally scheduled for later this year to begin early. Kiewit has blasted approximately 180,000 cubic yards of rock and hauled over 225,000 cubic yards – for comparison that’s the equivalent volume of 15,000 concrete mixer trucks – of  material, since closing the highway. The four rock cuts are on schedule and work has begun on the Horseshoe bridges.

Just prior to the Memorial Day weekend, US 34 will open for everyone to travel, and the project team is committed to keeping the canyon open for travel this summer. The canyon remains closed to through-traffic until then. While there will be noticeable travel impacts in the canyon this summer, the team is still working to finalize exactly what these impacts will entail. CDOT plans to introduce the summertime traffic management strategies at public meetings later this spring in Loveland and Estes Park.

US 34 Big Thompson Canyon’s roads and bridges were heavily damaged during the 2013 floods with many homes damaged and over 100 air lifted evacuations. The canyon and its residents also suffered from flooding in 1976. As a result of these two events, CDOT studied the hydraulic flow of the river in the canyon and its impact on the road and bridges along its path while looking for safety improvements and resiliency solutions to prevent/protect against future flood events.  

CDOT PROJECT INFORMATION:  For updates to this project, the public may call (970) 667-1005 or visit To sign up for “CDOT Alerts” on projects in your chosen area, visit CDOT’s website at and choose the envelope icon at the bottom of the page. Or, to see CDOT’s lane closure reports for projects statewide, visit Major CDOT project updates are also available via, Twitter @coloradodot or Facebook.