US 36 Milepost 8

US 36 reopens early between Lyons and Estes Park

US 36 between Lyons and Estes Park reopened substantially earlier than originally expected. 

Read the full press release here.

Construction Update

US 36 is now open between Mile Points 7 and 8 (near the Lion Gulch trailhead). Project officials are attributing the early completion of work at Mile Point 8 to lower-than-anticipated traffic counts, favorable weather conditions for much of the last three weeks, and Flatiron’s ability to work around-the-clock. Click here for more information on this closure.

Click here for more information on this closure

Open House Meetings

If you were unable to attend any of the three recent open house meetings, click here to review the information boards and handout materials that were presented at each meeting.

Project Background

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

Click to expand.

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

Click to expand.

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.

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