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CDOT on track for Dec. 1 deadline

10:44 PM, Nov 12, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - Colorado's Department of Transportation says it guarantees all flood damaged state roads will be open by Dec. 1.

"We are absolutely, 100 percent going to get those roads open," Amy Ford with Colorado Department of Transportation said.

Twenty-seven highways were closed after Colorado's floods, 25 are now back open. Of the 200 miles the flood damaged, all but 40 miles are fixed.

What had to happen to get it all the road projects done in time could change the way CDOT does business in the future.

Construction teams have been at the mercy of something that no one can control to fix what no one had the power to stop.

"The sun is our friend right now," Ford said.

The weather has been a big help in making progress to undo what days of rain did. The flood was unforgiving to highways in half a dozen counties.

The two state roads that are not done yet are Highway 7 out of Lyons and U.S. 34, between Loveland and Estes Park.

Thousands of families that have been impacted by two months of road repairs. Ford says they have been patient, cooperative, and engaged in the process.

"We had a teleconference town hall where we had almost 3,600 people on the call to get information," Ford said.

The call was about the U.S. 34 corridor.

However, the highway only takes you so far. People need smaller county roads fixed to get to the front door. CDOT says it is in close contact with County leaders.

"Our support has been in helping them inspect and assess these roads." Ford said. "We are looking at ways to support in regard to money and funds and construction."

CDOT gave itself 80 days to repair the highways damaged by the floods. Government rarely works at that rate.

"We had the flooding start on Thursday and Friday." Ford said. By the following week, there were contracts written for the repair work. "The speed at which we did that was unprecedented at CDOT."

Necessity overpowered protocol. CDOT says it used an emergency bidding process without wasting taxpayer money or compromising quality. It is a claim the department intends to review and knows others will too.

But it could also streamline future projects.

"This might change the way we work here," Ford said. "There might be some lasting changes."

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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