Flood Recovery Project finished in Coal Creek Canyon

News Release

October 7, 2020 - Denver Metro Area

JEFFERSON COUNTY — A Colorado Department of Transportation project designed to accommodate future flood events along State Highway 72 through Coal Creek Canyon is complete.

“A goal of this project was to build resilient infrastructure. CDOT has built back bigger and better to meet current design standards. For example, old culverts have been replaced by larger ones capable of accommodating high flows and less likely to get clogged by debris,” said CDOT Regional Transportation Director Paul Jesaitis. In addition, the project constructed cross culverts, added guardrail, stabilized slopes, restored channels and built a shoulder along westbound CO. 72 at the eastern end of the canyon.

The highway was closed for two months in 2013 when heavy rainfall caused extensive damage to the roadway, box culverts, and slopes. Debris-plugged culverts contributed to water undermining and overtopping CO. 72. While emergency work seven years ago repaired damages to make the roadway passable, extensive permanent drainage and roadway improvements were needed to minimize the potential for future infrastructure damage and road closures. This is one of the last CDOT flood recovery projects funded primarily by the Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief Program, which reimburses the state for eligible flood repair expenses.

M.A. Mortenson of Denver was the contractor for the $9.5 million project.  

Colorado is a premier bicycling state and CO 72 is a popular cycling route. For the past two seasons, the  highway has been closed to cyclists due to restricted width and one-lane automated traffic signals in the work zone. All bike and vehicle restrictions have lifted through the 12-mile work zone between Plainview Road and Pinecliffe. All motorists and bicyclists are strongly encouraged to use extra caution and share the road as more people are cycling state and local roads this fall.



Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts and anticipated travel impacts and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include:


Safe transportation infrastructure is essential for all of us, particularly for emergency first responders and freight drivers as Colorado navigates the COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind, CDOT maintenance and construction crews follow social distancing and other health safety measures to reduce COVID-19 exposure on the worksite. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced guidelines for construction activities. The public is urged to join the campaign for #DoingMyPartCO by practicing social distancing and wearing face masks.  As traffic returns to normal levels, motorists must drive cautiously and heed the speed limit so all of us can return home safely.