Colorado Road Closures Hamper Flood Rescue Efforts

Colorado road closures hampered rescue efforts following a devastating flood last week. Flood waters have yet to recede, but residents, officials, and the media have already documented massive damage from Boulder to Estes Park.

The latest road closures update from the Colorado Department of Transportation included seven highways in the Denver metro area and 16 highways in the northern area of the state.

Along with closures, Colorado also saw more rain over the weekend. The Denver Post reports that the rain has helped rivers stay above flood stage.

Hundreds of residents remained unaccounted for on Sunday and a 60-year-old Cedar Cove woman was considered the fifth person killed in the historic flood.

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle warned residents, “There might be further loss of life. It is certainly a high probability… with an army of folks and an air show we’re hoping to reach everyone as soon as possible.”

While some of Colorado’s closed roads will reopen when water recedes, others will need extensive work for them to be operational again.

CNN notes that, along with roads, the floods destroyed 1,502 residential buildings and damaged an additional 17,494. Damage from the flood is expected to be in the billions. Boulder County alone will require about $150 million to repair between 100 and 200 miles of roadway. Twenty to 30 bridges also need to be repaired or replaced.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and members of Colorado’s congressional delegation surveyed the damage from a helicopter. The aircraft was diverted twice to pick up people waving to be rescued. After the tour, US Senator Mark Udall promised to fight for federal aid to recover from the devastating flood.

Hickenlooper added that he spoke with US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who assured him “that the $5 million that was released Friday was just the beginning” of federal assistance for the state. While the flood waters will recede, it will take time before all of Colorado’s closed roads are open again.

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