First Full Closure Of US 34 Scheduled To Begin Next Week For Bridge Replacement
The first full closure of US 34 just east of Estes Park will now take place Wednesday, February 3rd through Sunday, February 14th, weather permitting. The closure is necessary to allow the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to replace the first of two bridges on US 34 in the Big Thompson Canyon. Both structures are steel truss bridges that were constructed in 1937 and are in poor condition.
“Due to the snow we received last night, the contractor is unable to complete the preparatory work by Monday as it requires single-lane alternating traffic and the icy conditions create an unsafe situation for motorists and the flaggers,” said CDOT Resident Engineer Scott Ellis. “As a result, the closure will be postponed two days so that the contractor can complete the preparatory work at the bridge under safe conditions.”
During the closure, US 34 will be completely closed at milepost 65.4 and motorists will be detoured through Lyons along US 287, State Highway 66 and US 36. The closure will be in place 24 hours a day starting at 12:01 a.m. on February 3rd and continuing through February 14th while crews demolish the existing bridge and construct the new bridge. The detour route will add approximately 15 miles (20 minutes) onto a trip from Estes Park to Loveland.
A second closure of US 34 at milepost 66.3 will be required in March to demolish and replace the second structure. This closure is tentatively scheduled for March 1st through March 12th, but is subject to change due to weather or construction activities. The same detour route will be utilized during the second closure of US 34.
“We understand that the full closures are a huge inconvenience, but the only way to replace these aging structures is to completely close the highway,” added Ellis. “We have a fast track method of construction in place that will allow us to complete the majority of work in 12 days so we can reopen US 34 to traffic.”
Following both closures, crews will have some minor work to complete. Between the middle of March and the middle of May, crews will install the remaining drainage structures that are outside of the roadway and pave the roadway in asphalt. The paving cannot take place until warmer temperatures return. Other minor work includes staining the concrete on the new bridges and installing the guardrail. During the last two months of construction, motorists can expect single-lane alternating traffic during daytime hours, Monday through Friday.
For more information about the project, visit http://www.coloradodot.info/projects/us-34-truss-bridges or call 970-685-0229. For frequently asked questions, visit the project Web site.
SEMA Construction, Inc. is the contractor for this $3.8 million project scheduled to be complete by Memorial Day 2010.