ESTES PARK, Colo.,- For those visiting Estes Park over the holiday season, the route to town is open through Highway 34 for a limited time.
CDOT re-opened the highway cutting through the canyon from December 22 through January 3.
A CDOT spokesperson said crews are ahead of schedule on repair work from the 2013 floods and that enabled them to open the highway for the holiday season.
Initially, CDOT said it had planned to use a pilot car to lead vehicles through the canyon, but has since decided to open it up altogether with free flowing traffic in both directions, eliminating the 10 minute delay the pilot car would have added to the drive.
The temporary re-opening led to a big boost in business over the Thanksgiving holiday and business owners in Estes Park are hoping that continues during the winter holidays.
“When that road closes, it just, it's like turning the faucet off, this time of year,” said Dave Clifton, who owns Mountain Blown Glass. “This time of year, we're more what we call day trippers, Boulder, Fort Collins, Loveland, come up for the afternoon and northern people, Greeley, Fort Collins, Loveland, just don't want to make that extra trip.”
But not all business owners agree that the closure is hurting business.
"We've had a great December and we had a great November, we had the best November ever, so no complaints from my standpoint," said Jim Hull, who owns The Ore Cart Rock Shop.
The canyon will close again at 8:30 a.m. on January 3r and remain closed until the Memorial Day holiday weekend.