The Colorado Department of Transportation recently completed inspections of the 411 bridges on the state highway system that were potentially impacted by recent flooding in northeast and eastern Colorado. Of the 411 bridges, 120 were determined to be stable but in need of repair. The remaining 291 are currently open with no need for repairs. After further inspection, though there was notable damage on some bridges, none were determined to be destroyed and in need of replacement.
“Early in the flooding it had initially appeared as though some of the bridges may have been destroyed when viewing aerial photography,” said Josh Laipply, CDOT State Bridge Engineer. “Once our inspectors got on the ground and into the more damaged sites, it became apparent that much of the damage was on the roadways approaching the bridges and that the structures, while needing repair, were still stable. There were a number of bridges owned by cities, counties and even private individuals that are off the state highway system that were reported early on.
There have been two inspection teams working since flood waters began receding to determine the impact the floods had on the bridges. They examined whether the structures were still stable, reviewing the damage caused to the integrity of the bridge piers, trusses and girders, as well as the bridge decks.
CDOT inspectors are continuing to work with cities and counties to assess damage on over 800 bridges off the state system.
Motorists are also reminded to please consider their safety in addition to the safety of CDOT contractors and crews. Several area highways remain closed, including US 34 between Estes Park and Lyons, US 36 between Estes Park and Lyons, State Highway (SH) 7 between Lyons and SH 72, and SH 72 through Coal Creek Canyon. These closures are essential for safety reasons and construction progress, and only residents who live within closure zones and can demonstrate proof of residency will be allowed into work zones. No through or commuter traffic is allowed on these highways.
Updates are being posted regularly at the flood repairs project website at www.coloradodot.infos.