CO 7 (Lower) to open Thursday for the holidays

News Release

December 17, 2021 - Northeastern Colorado - Crews celebrate progress during first 95 work days

LYONS — The Colorado Department of Transportation is helping start the holiday season right for the Lyons and Allenspark communities in the form of an open highway. Starting Thursday at 4 p.m. until Monday, Jan. 3, at 8 a.m., Colorado Highway 7 will be open to the traveling public with no traffic impacts.

Since Sept. 20, crews on the CO 7 Lower project have worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week, within the six-mile full closure on CO 7. The final 2013 flood recovery project in the state aims to maintain access during future flood events, build a safe system accommodating multi-modal transportation options and work in harmony with ecological river functions in the corridor.

In just 95 days, the project team has accomplished the following:

  • Installed 750 linear feet of new drainage pipes
  • Completed over 21,000 cubic yards of floodplain excavation
  • Performed 175 crew hours of rock scaling at various canyon locations to prevent future rock slides
  • Rehabilitated about 7,000 linear feet of the river
  • Worked over 20,000 employee hours
  • Escorted more than 21,000 drivers through the work zone during the open hours
  • Coordinated 25 emergency responder calls through the full closure

CDOT and Kiewit continue to coordinate with many local agencies on the project. “The river and floodplain restoration happening under CDOT’s direction will help return the South St. Vrain River to a functional condition that supports fish, wildlife, and scenic views,” said Matt Fairchild, a fisheries biologist with the USDA Forest Service who has been coordinating with CDOT on this project. “CDOT has assembled an exceptional team and those efforts are paying off. Once completed, this project will restore nearly 7 miles of river habitat across the Roosevelt National Forest.”

In addition to staying busy in the field, the project has made an effort to give back to the community. In November, Kiewit donated a truckload of non-perishable food to the Lyons Community Food Pantry, and this month donated about 15 gifts to two local families through the Lyons Emergency and Assistance Fund for the holiday season.

CDOT project manager James Zufall said, "We understand this project is highly impactful for the community members, and we appreciate their patience. But at the end of the day, we hope to bring them a sense of security during the next flood event.”

On Jan. 3 at 8 a.m., CO 7 will again close to all traffic between Mile Points 23 and 29.5 for construction to continue. This closure will remain in place through Memorial Day 2022. There will be “scheduled openings” for all traffic from 6-8 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. daily, including weekends. During these timeframes, pilot cars will lead alternating one-way travel. Drivers should plan for delays, and the team has planned to ensure that emergency responder access is maintained at all times. Due to work zone conditions, cycling, kayaking, hiking and climbing will be closed between MP 23-29.5 at all times during the closure.

After Memorial Day 2022, traffic impacts will be minimal with single-lane closures and intermittent delays through Fall 2022.

The goals of this project are to maintain access during future flood events, build a safe system accommodating multi-modal transportation options and work in harmony with ecological river functions in the corridor.

The permanent repair project will:

  • Resurface and repair approximately 14 miles of roadway
  • Rehabilitate several miles of the St. Vrain Creek disturbed during the emergency repairs
  • Improve multi-modal mobility options along the corridor
  • Build in resiliency to improve future emergency access during floods 

This is the state’s final 2013 Flood recovery permanent repair project. The canyon sustained significant damage during the 2013 disaster, with nine miles of roadway severely damaged or lost entirely, and debris flows that prevented access for nearly 2 1/2 months. An emergency repair project reestablished traffic and operations quickly but did not complete repairs to final grades or restore the highway to appropriate transportation safety standards. This is a $55 million to $60 million 2013 Emergency Relief (ER) project that is fully supported by federal emergency relief funds.

Stay Informed

Travelers can obtain information about this closure and construction project by:

Remember: Slow for the Cone Zone

The following tips are to help you stay safe while traveling through maintenance and construction work zones.

  • Do not speed in work zones. Obey the posted speed limits.
  • Stay Alert! Expect the unexpected.
  • Watch for workers. Drive with caution.
  • Don't change lanes unnecessarily.
  • Avoid using mobile devices such as phones while driving in work zones.
  • Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you.
  • Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones.
  • Expect delays, especially during peak travel times.
  • Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Anticipate lane shifts and merge when directed to do so.
  • Be patient!