Colorado to Tap $100M Emergency Fund to Repair Flood-Ravaged Bridges & Roadways

Dozens of state highways remain closed because of flood damage

By Marshall Zelinger

DENVER - Dozens of state highways remain closed because of flood damage.

Many road decks have been washed away and some bridges are damaged or destroyed.

Inspection crews with the Colorado Department of Transportation have already inspected 100 bridges and expect to review more than 1,000 before they're done.

"Right now, we're trying to assess bridges to get people access -- to get access to communities, to get people to safety that need to be there," said CDOT bridge engineer Joshua Laipply. "We're being surgical about which ones we're going to hit first, where there's lower water."

In many cases, inspectors cannot see to the bottom of the structure because the waterways are still running too high.

"Once we establish where that channel bottom is, we go back to the plans that we have on all these structures and we figure out, has the foundation undermined or has it not?" said Laipply. "If it's undermined, then it's questionable and we won't open it."

In some cases, the road may be repaired where it was originally built. In other situations, CDOT may consider moving the road as a result of where the waterway now flows.

7NEWS found out the money to begin repairs will come from CDOT's emergency fund.

"Our transportation commission will be allocating the entire contingency fund that CDOT has, which is $100 million, to start paying for any of these repairs," says CDOT spokeswoman Amy Ford.

She also said the Federal Highway Administration has contributed $5 million. CDOT also plans to tap into sources of funding provided by FEMA.

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