LYONS, Colo. - Nearly two months after it was heavily damaged by flooding, U.S. Highway 36 from Lyons to Estes Park reopened Monday.
That's almost a month ahead of the Dec. 1 schedule initially set by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
"Thanks to everyone who made this possible," Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said on Facebook.
Business owners in Estes Park and Lyons are happy to see the highway reopen.
"What's good for Estes Park is good for Lyons," said Greig Chesne, owner of the Barking Dog Cafe. "If people are going through Lyons to get to Estes Park, a percentage of that traffic will stop here."
The National Guard engineers' highway repair project -- dubbed Operation Sapper Fury -- involved about 200 National Guard citizen-soldiers from Colorado, Utah, Montana and Kansas. Guard members worked with CDOT to repair a 25-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 36 between Lyons and Estes Park.
Since operations began in September, the multi-state, National Guard team has worked 9,060 man hours, placed 320 feet of culvert, removed 1,155 feet of guardrail and hauled 14,050 cubic yards of fill material, the release said.
CDOT spokeswoman Amy Ford told 7NEWS that work crews are still shooting for a Dec. 1 deadline to reopen Highway 34 through the Big Thompson Canyon and Highway 7 between Lyons and Raymond.
She said work crews are ahead of schedule on Highway 72 in Jefferson County and will likely finish it before the end of the month.
In all, the state is spending an estimated $450 million to repair roads and bridges damaged by the September floods.