BOULDER — Gov. John Hickenlooper said Monday that contractors and Colorado highway workers "moved heaven and earth" to get a major highway from Boulder into the Colorado Rocky Mountains finished a week early.
Hickenlooper said Monday the reopening of the highway from Boulder to Nederland showed the resilience of Colorado residents.
"The opening of State Highway 119 ahead of schedule is a victory for all of us after last month's flooding. Colorado is rising to meet this unprecedented challenge to rebuild our communities," Hickenlooper said.
He said the highway was originally scheduled to be reopened in mid- to late-October, but crews worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week to reopen the highway as soon as highway engineers felt it was safe.
Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Don Hunt said many crew members were personally affected by the flooding that closed the highway on Sept. 12.
Motorists said guardrail, embankment and other work is still underway on the highway shoulders for the next week or so.
The damage to state highways alone is about $430 million, officials said, with 200 miles of roads and 50 bridges destroyed. The flooding also caused eight confirmed deaths and damaged or destroyed nearly 1,800 homes.
Highway officials said much is left to be done to get other highways open before they get snowed in.
They said they are making progress on other highways, including U.S. Highway 36 and U.S. Highway 34 in northern Colorado.