Frequently Asked Questions

It will take about one year to finish this work.

Crews plan to work Monday through Saturday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. As the project progresses, crews will work Sundays if needed and could work later in the evening during the summer to take advantage of longer periods of daylight.

Overnight single-lane closures might be needed during the summer for some work operations.

Temporary repairs were made to US 36 following the 2013 floods, and even though the section of US 36 by the Lion Gulch Trailhead looks good, this stretch of roadway is still susceptible to washing out in the next flood. Based on what occurred in the 1976 and 2013 floods, if we don’t provide a way for the Little Thompson River to revert to its natural alignment on the north side of the road, the water will again overtop US 36 and cause major damage. This project will improve public safety by preserving enough of the roadway for emergency vehicles and residents to use after the next flood.

During the three-week closure, crews worked day and night in a variety of weather conditions to accomplish quite a bit in a short time. In just 20 days they created a temporary detour to maintain emergency service access; excavated more than 10 feet of roadway to install the 14 feet by 10 feet concrete box culvert segments; poured more than 150 cubic yards of concrete to build a large wingwall for the culvert; improved sight distances along a 500-foot stretch of roadway through rock blasting, scaling and excavation; and backfilled the box culvert and rebuilt the roadway.

Tunneling work will be done on the east limits of the project corridor near Mile Point 8 to put in a culvert that’s about 14-feet in diameter. This work will occur about 60 feet below the roadway so it should have minimal impacts to the traveling public (one of the reasons this construction method was selected for the east culvert).

Additional work scope includes re-establishing the natural channel of the Little Thompson River, placing riprap along the restored river channel, scaling loose rock from the mountainside above the highway to restore a safe shoulder and rock catchment ditch along the side of roadway, repaving the highway and installing new guardrail. This will complete restoring the Little Thompson River to its natural alignment.

Throughout this work following the 30-day closure, drivers will encounter minor traffic stops while construction vehicles, equipment and material deliveries are moved on and off US 36. No lanes will need to be closed continuously during the work.

Because this is primarily a drainage project to redirect the river into its natural environment, the highway itself won’t look much different when the project is done. Drivers might notice improved sight distances around curves as rock outcroppings near the roadway are trimmed back.

The drainage culverts could be installed by closing one side of US 36 at a time and running traffic in a single-lane configuration on the other side of the highway. This method, however, would involve long traffic queues and extended delays for people trying to drive through the work zone. Working alongside live traffic would also slow down the construction process, requiring about four months to complete what can be done in 30 days with a full closure. This extended construction process would mean impacts to summer travelers.

Certain work activities could require occasionally closing a lane of traffic and using flaggers to direct two-way travel through the work zone. Any rock scaling work that might need to be done will also involve stopping traffic in both directions for a short period of time while loose rocks and material are pushed off the mountainside onto the roadway below and then cleaned up before traffic queues are released. These traffic impacts will only occur occasionally, however, and will be communicated to the public in advance.

During the 30-day closure, taking the Colorado Highway 7 detour from Lyons to Estes Park will add about 13.6 miles of travel and 22 minutes of drive time.

By building a temporary, narrow gravel detour path around the work zone, the project team will maintain access for emergency vehicles at all times except during rock blasting and immediately following these blasts if an excessive amount of rock comes down on the roadway and makes it impassable. In these instances, emergency service agencies to the north and south of the construction zone will coordinate with each other and cover another agency’s call if needed.

This will be the last flood recovery project done on US 36 between Lyons and Estes Park.

Yes. By allowing the river to travel through the drainage culverts beneath US 36 to the north side of the highway where the river naturally flowed decades ago, these improvements will help minimize roadway damage in the next flood.