ESTES PARK, Colo. - The Colorado Department of Transportation is reopening a route for some motorists to and from Estes Park.
Emergency personnel, residents of Estes Park, delivery vehicles and other essential visitors will be able to access Estes Park by taking State Highway (SH) 119 north from the Blackhawk/Central City area to Nederland to SH 72 north through Ward to SH 7 and then north to Estes Park through Allenspark.
CDOT will establish and enforce checkpoints at varying locations along the highway to ensure that only those with critical missions can enter and exit the town until more permanent repairs can be made.
At the request of the Town of Estes Park and Larimer County Emergency Services, the National Park Service will only allow eastbound traffic on Trail Ridge Road to consist of community residents, family members of community residents providing support, emergency services and delivery trucks. This request is being made because the Estes Park community's infrastructure is overwhelmed due to the magnitude of this historic flood event. The limited resources must be focused on response and recovery. No visitors to the area will be allowed to travel eastbound, even those with advance plans and reservations in the community.
There is good news from the Town's official Twitter page.
"According to the Bureau of Reclamation the dams are safe, Olympus & Mary's Lake are holding up and water levels are going down," officials tweeted Friday afternoon.
However, the sanitation plants are not operating, so officials are asking residents to flush less to reduce sewage.
Town water was shut to some areas along Fish Creek. The sanitation district has been overwhelmed with storm water and are evaluating the situation.
The Town of Estes Park said tap water still safe to drink, however, as extra precaution, residences along the Fish Creek have been are advised to boil water until further notice. No other boil orders are currently in force in Estes Park.
Because phone and internet service in Estes Park is spotty, town officials said they are working on a way for evacuees to contact friends and relatives. There is an information line, but it is hard to get through to the recording because of the intermittent service.
Emergency evacuation notifications were sent to the US 34/36 intersection west along both Fall and Big Thompson Rivers to Rocky Mountain National Park. Additionally, properties along Fish Creek were contacted to either evacuate or be on alert. 1,702 warning messages were sent out.
Mountain View Bible Fellowship is the only evacuation center needed right now, town officials said.
Video shot by the Estes Park News on Thursday showed flood waters moving through the business district.
Just after 4 p.m. Thursday, Town Administrator Frank Lancaster tweeted that water was receding on Elkhorn Avenue "only because erosion has increased (the) river channel."
The Estes Park Town Board ratified a disaster declaration Thursday.
The town is posting updates on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TownofEstesPark
And on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TownofEstesParkCO