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Colorado seeks $116 million in federal emergency aid to rebuild I-70 in Glenwood Canyon

Christian Fernsby |
The Polis administration is seeking $116 million in aid through the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Emergency Relief program to support the response to severe damage to I-70 in Glenwood Canyon caused by multiple mudslides and large debris flows.

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As part of the request, the state is requesting $11.6 million, or 10% of the total request, be issued in an expedited process.

The request was made by Governor Jared Polis and Department of Transportation Director Shoshana Lew in a letter to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and FHWA Acting Administrator Stephanie Pollack, as well as a separate submission to the FHWA Colorado Division office. This follows the issuance of two Executive Orders from Governor Polis last week, as well as a letter from the Colorado congressional delegation on Saturday, August 7, 2021, stressing the urgency of this matter to the state.

The funding request notes that this figure is an estimate made as debris removal efforts and damage assessments are still ongoing. CDOT expects to update these assessments and funding requests in the next 8 to 10 weeks. The request for federal emergency funding also includes funding to study and construct safety improvements to alternate routes to Glenwood Canyon, as previewed in CDOT testimony before the Transportation Legislative Review Committee last week.

The funding request breaks down several high-level categories:

Debris removal costs (includes maintenance staff costs) = $4 million

Impacts to existing State Highway alternate routes (as a result of I-70 closure) costs = $10 million

Supplemental traffic control services (contractor) costs = $1 million

Visible damage estimates caused by event damage or debris removal hauling costs = $20 million

Assumed damage repair estimates (non-visible) costs = $20 million

Potential geohazard mitigation at several locations = $5 million

Construction Management and Construction Engineering costs = $5 million

Future Resiliency & Redundancy Study costs = $50 million

CDOT administration (non-maintenance staff) costs = $1 million.

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