Hickenlooper makes $65.5 million more available for flood recovery
CDOT announces opening dates for highways
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an Executive Order on Sept. 26 that makes $65.5 million more available for flood response and recovery. This brings the total state funds available to $91.5 million.
“There is great urgency to get flood recovery efforts underway as quickly as possible,” Hickenlooper said. “This money will help local communities rebuild now instead of waiting for other recovery dollars to arrive.”
The governor on Thursday, also joined the Colorado Department of Transportation to announce estimated opening dates for many highways. The ultimate goal is to complete temporary or permanent repairs to restore mobility on these state highway routes by Dec. 1, 2013.
The total cost of permanent repairs on Colorado’s highways is now estimated at $475 million.
The governor’s Executive Order transfers $15.5 million from the Controlled Maintenance Trust Fund and $50 million from the Medical Services Premiums appropriation in the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to the Disaster Emergency Fund. Current projections indicate there will be money available above the enacted budget to accommodate this change.
“The Director of the Office of Emergency Management is hereby authorized and directed to allocate the funding to the appropriate government agencies and non-profit organizations and execute awards, purchase orders or other mechanisms to effect the allocation of the funds,” the order says.
The order also authorizes the Director of the Office of Emergency Management to allocate up to $20 million for short-term, no-interest loans to provide any political subdivision of the state with short-term capital needed for flood response and recovery.
CDOT has updated its list of closed highways and estimated reopening dates. All estimated openings are weather dependent and could change based on the conditions of the highway once crews begin the extensive repairs. In addition, some of the corridors will reopen in a temporary state, meaning a gravel road or a one-lane configuration. The following is the current roadway schedule:
• US 34 between CR 27 and Estes Park: The contractor began the damage assessment this week. More information to come soon, but the goal is to reopen US 34 in a temporary state by Dec. 1, 2013.
• US 34 between CR 27 and the Dam Store: This two-mile stretch of US 34 is scheduled to reopen by the end of September or early October 2013.
• US 34 between Greeley and Kersey: This section of US 34 will reopen to traffic in late September or early October 2013 as a temporary road. Paving will occur after the highway opens to traffic.
• US 34 between 37th Street to CR 49 in Greeley: This section of US 34 Business will reopen to traffic in early- to mid-October 2013.
• US 36 between Lyons and Estes Park: The National Guard is working with CDOT to make temporary repairs. The highway is scheduled to reopen by Dec. 1, 2013.
• US 36 south of SH 66: The location on US 36 has been closed due to a damaged bridge. The repairs are nearly complete and US 36 is scheduled to open to one-lane alternating traffic by Sept. 27. This will allow motorists to travel from Boulder to SH 66.
• SH 7 between Lyons and Estes Park: The contractor began the damage assessment this week. More information to come soon, but the goal is to reopen SH 7 in a temporary state by Dec. 1, 2013.
• SH 39 between Goodrich and I-76 and SH 144 between US 34 and Weldona: The contractor is just now able to mobilize now that the water has receded. More information to come soon.
• SH 71 near Snyder: The contractor is just now able to mobilize now that the water has receded. More information to come soon.
• SH 72 between SH 93 and SH 119: Repairs are underway and should be completed by the end of November 2013.
• SH 119 between Boulder and Nederland: SH 119 is scheduled to reopen in mid- to late-October 2013.
• SH 144 between US 34 and Weldona: The contractor is just now able to mobilize now that the water has receded. More information to come soon.
• SH 257 between SH 60 in Milliken to US 34: This section of SH 257 is scheduled to reopen by the end of September 2013.
CDOT will continue to work with local law enforcement and contractors to facilitate resident and property owner access to the roadways during construction, where possible. This will likely include setting established times for access to ensure that construction and repairs can be expedited.
“Over the last several weeks, our maintenance crews, contractors and the National Guard have been working extremely hard to reopen highways and reconnect communities,” said Johnny Olson, Infrastructure Recovery Force Incident Commander. “We are excited that we can now provide timelines for many of the highways, but it is important for motorists and the communities to remember these are tentative dates and factors such as weather and construction challenges can shift the opening dates.”
To view an updated list of highway closures related to the flood or for a list of frequently asked questions, visit http://www.coloradodot.info/travel/floodinfoupdates. Highway updates are also available at cotrip.org or by calling the CDOT Flood Information line at 720-263-1589 or 511 from anywhere in the state. Updates are also available via Twitter @coloradodot and at the Facebook page, facebook.com/coloradodot.
Other updates related to flood recovery:
Jerre Stead, the state’s Chief Recovery Officer, spent his first three days in his new role with key teams from CDOT, the Colorado Office of Emergency Management and the Colorado National Guard that are on the ground making a difference for local communities. He has formed a team that is working on organizing and coordinating efforts across the state to ensure swift attention to top issues and needs.
The official count day for 2013 Student October is Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. Rules allow schools to request an alternative count date. The deadline for requesting alternative count dates was Sept. 16. However, given the extenuating circumstances surrounding the recent floods in Colorado, the Colorado Department of Education has extended the deadline to Sept. 30 for those districts impacted by the floods. School districts impacted by the floods may request an alternative count date up until Oct. 10. For more information contact Janelle Asmus at Asmus_J@cde.state.co.us.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved temporary rental assistance for at least two months. The rental vacancy rate in the Northern Front Range market was 3.5 percent or less before the flood. It is difficult now to find a vacant unit. The state is working with private landlords and property management firms to include all available rental units at www.ColoradoHousingSearch.com. This is a web-based system that is updated daily and lists vacant rental units statewide and in the impacted areas. Those disaster victims looking for short-term rentals should be prepared to look outside their immediate areas.
The state’s housing disaster strategy will focus on finding the resources to meet the needs not covered by the federal disaster assistance programs. Fundraising efforts include both public and private resources. Earlier this week, the Colorado Congressional delegation sent a request to the HUD Secretary for a Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery grant. In the recent Sandy disaster these funds were used to help defray costs not covered by FEMA and flood insurance. These funds were used for residential and commercial
The Colorado Water Conservation Board has prioritized work on a number of stream gages impacted by flooding. The agency expects to have preliminary public infrastructure assessment numbers on structures impacted and possible costs by Monday, Sept. 30. Earlier this week, CWCB approved $1.65 million in grants to the South Platte area for water infrastructure.
The latest information related to flood response and recovery can be found at www.coemergency.com.