The Washed-Away Roads of Boulder

The floods that began on September 11 and have continued to ravage Colorado are responsible for more than 1,000 deaths, according to a USA Today report.

The storms have destroyed about 1,500 homes and have damaged nearly 17,500, according to an initial estimate released by the Colorado Office of Emergency Management. Roads are washed out, bridges have been destroyed and flooding across the state has caused massive evacuations.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced on September 13 that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has immediately made available $5 million in emergency relief funds to help Colorado cover the costs of repairing roads and bridges damaged by the ongoing floods.

Numerous highways and bridges in Boulder, Larimer, Weld, Denver, Gilpin, Clear Creek and Jefferson Counties in eastern Colorado are reported as washed out or closed, including sections of Highways 7 and 287 that have collapsed and sections of I-25 and I-70 that are currently closed, according to USDOT.

Boulder, home to the University of Colorado, was among the hardest hit by the flood waters.

Shane Del Grosso, incident commander with the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team, told the USA Today in a video interview that “time is of the essence” when rebuilding Colorado’s transportation infrastructures.

“It’s the middle of September. It’s not going to be long in this country before you start getting frost and you’re going to start having some snow,” Del Grosso said. “And it’s going to take months and years — a year — to rebuild some of these roads to the standard that they were prior to this incident.”

My cousin, Renee, (who is safe, by the way) shared the above photo of the devastation.

This photo of a road that is completely washed away is two streets from where she lives in Boulder.

“Disasters like this make it very clear how important transportation is in everyday life,” Foxx said in a written statement. “These federal funds represent a down payment on our commitment to the people of Colorado.”

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It’s too bad we can’t get such an immediate reaction to the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. A down payment on our future’s infrastructure would be nice.