US 36 Lyons to Estes Park at Milepost 8

The majority of this project is complete. The majority of the remaining work will take place off the road and not affect traffic.

About the Project

This flood project involves installing two major drainage structures under US 36 by removing the roadway surface, excavating, and drilling horizontally beneath the highway. The project is approximately eight miles south of Estes Park near the Lion Gulch trailhead. Work entails rock blasting, re-benching the embankment between the highway and the Little Thompson River, restoring the river alignment, and placing riprap along the river’s restored alignment. These permanent repairs are a follow-up to emergency repairs made after the September 2013 Flood disaster and will offer a permanent fix to meet long-term transportation safety and functional standards. These repairs will also prevent the roadway from washing out in future storms, protecting lives and minimizing the need for road closures and repairs.  

Project Corridor Map

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Project Purpose

This project is designed to put the Little Thompson River back into its natural alignment through Muggins Gulch and honor commitments made with the U.S. Forest Service to return the channel to its historic ecological function. When US 36 was built in 1937, the river was channeled away from Muggins Gulch into the roadside ditch that exists today. This section of the river channel washed out in the 1976 and 2013 floods, causing significant damage to the roadway embankment that resulted in costly repairs and extended closures of a primary route in and out of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. New drainage structures installed for the permanent repair will return the river to its natural path beneath the highway and minimize erosion damage and highway closures during the next flood.

US 36 Milepost 8 Project Oblique Map

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Project Timeline

Initial construction work is scheduled to begin in January 2020 and the project is expected to finish in early 2021. A full closure of US 36 at Mile Point 8 was completed March 27. See the Travel Impacts page for more information.