Residents near US 34 facing tough decisions amid pending closure

Posted at 5:32 PM, Sep 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-14 21:07:46-04

LOVELAND, Colo – This week marks four years since torrential rains flooded much of northern Colorado and destroyed large sections of roads.

Last year, crews with the Colorado Department of Transportation closed U.S. 34 through Thompson Canyon for eight months to make repairs.

CDOT is planning on doing that same thing this October.

However, as much as that closure is needed to finish the repairs, some people affected are having to make hard decisions when it comes to closure.

Tashina Fogel is a mother of four children and uses the highway every day.

According to CDOT, the highway was opened this summer due to tourism for Colorado and beneficial economic impact.

Fogel, however, will have to make different plans when driving to Loveland once this closure happens in early October.

“It’s usually a 14-mile drive from where I live to Loveland,” Fogel said. “But now I’m going to have to drive more than 60 miles to get to Loveland with the new detour.”

According to CDOT, Fogel qualifies for a permit to use Highway 34 during the early morning hours and evening hours. CDOT said people who live near Thomson Canyon all qualify for this permit.

However, it does not help Fogel.

“I have a son who goes to school in Loveland,” Fogel said. “He needs speech therapy and occupational therapy there. But I have to take him to school at noon. So those permits don’t help me.”

Fogel said she cannot afford to take the detour either.

“It’s too much gas, and all that adds up,” Fogel said. “It’s just a terrible situation because me not being able to afford that drive can hurt my son’s education. He needs that help.”

Fogel is now faced with a tough decision.

“I feel like I might need to pull him out of school once the closure starts or try and find a school closer that can help him with his speech therapy. I’m looking right now. I’m just worried,” Fogel said.

CDOT officials told Denver7 it understands Fogel’s frustration and is empathetic. CDOT officials also said it tried to accommodate as best it could for all the people affected.