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US 34 Big Thompson Canyon

The section of US 34 that winds its way through the Big Thompson Canyon, providing major access between Loveland, Lyons, and Estes Park, was heavily damaged during the 2013 floods. In other areas, the roadway and grade were undermined, with pavement washed out from below, exposing the walls and support systems. During the flooding, watershed runoff combined with flows released from the Lake Estes Dam and surges from dam breaches produced huge flow surges that exceeded the 500-year flood event. The canyon sustained widespread, massive damage. Major sections of roadway were washed away completely, along with access bridges and retaining walls.

Located on US 34 between Loveland and Estes Park, Colorado, this project involved completion of the permanent repairs to the US 34 through the Big Thompson Canyon. The purpose of this project was to remove and replace much of the temporary asphalt, embankment fill, and temporary channel protection; as well as re-vegetate, replace guardrails, and repair fencing. Some of the roadway sections that were not destroyed, but experienced flood water overtopping the roadway, were analyzed and, in some instances, replaced.

The permanent repairs included removing and replacing a significant portion to the temporary asphalt, embankment fill, and temporary channel protection. Additional work included rock blasting, rock bolts and dowels, wire mesh, drainage, detour work, temporary stream crossings, river work, new bridge construction, bridge rehab, embankment reconstruction, complete roadway reconstruction, and development of staging and material handling yards. The project involved night and daytime work, sometimes 7 days a week.

Beginning in 2016, RockSol provided preconstruction services for assistance to CDOT personnel on miscellaneous needs and review/comment of project documents. RockSol then provided construction management, inspection of roadway and river work, and quality assurance testing services for the project. RockSol provided CDOT with project management, inspection, and material testing services for this project.

This project has been the recipient of numerous awards, including Engineering News Record’s 2018 Best of the Best Project of the Year.

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