U.S. 34 reopened Thursday between Loveland and Estes Park, 20 miles damaged in September floods

LOVELAND, Colo. - U.S. 34 through Big Thompson Canyon reopened to the public at 11 a.m. Thursday.

About 20 miles of roadway was damaged in the canyon between Loveland and Estes Park.

Despite the damage, The Dam Store, which opened in 1906 at the foot of Big Thompson Canyon, survived.

It sits high above the river and the floodwater overflowed the opposite bank.

To celebrate the reopening of the highway and The Dam Store surviving two tragic floods (1976 and 2013), workers offered free coffee and hot chocolate Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"We'd love to see you," owners wrote on the store's Facebook page.

The opening of U.S. 34 restores all routes in and out of Estes Park.

It also means only one highway is left to reopen by Dec. 1 -- Highway 7 between Lyons and Raymond. Crews there are working to repair a 12-mile stretch that was damaged.

About 485 miles of highways were destroyed or damaged by flooding. 27 highways were closed.

The Colorado Department of Transportation worked with the state patrol, the National Guard, and local governments to reopen the highways.

In all, the state is spending an estimated $450 million to repair roads and bridges damaged by the September floods.
 

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