Governor Polis seeking $116 million in federal aid for Glenwood Canyon

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Mudslides blocked access to portions of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon on July 20, 2021. (Credit: Colorado Department of Transportation)

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. – Governor Jared Polis is seeking $116 million of federal aid through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief program in order to repair the significant damage done to I-70 in Glenwood Canyon.

The state is requesting $11.6 million of that total be expedited.

This request comes after the governor’s two executive orders and a letter sent by the Colorado congressional delegation on Saturday, Aug. 7 to emphasize the importance of the situation.

Governor Polis and Director Shoshana Lew wrote to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Acting Administrator Stepahnie Pollack, “The corridor is vital for everything from long-haul freight to movement of agricultural products across the state to the ecotourism economy. I-70 provides critical connectivity for communities in Eagle, Garfield, and Pitkin counties and serves as the state’s main east-west thoroughfare for people and commerce. Federal support, including quick release of funds, will greatly assist our efforts to restore functionality to the interstate and allow people to have the connectivity they rely on.”

The Colorado Department of Transportation is analyzing and assessing the total true cost for debris removal and damage within the canyon. The assessment plans to continue for the next eight to ten weeks. The projected costs will also cover a study of how to improve the road and build alternate routes to Glenwood Canyon.

The Polis administration’s letter says, “Prior estimates concluded that improvements to Cottonwood Pass are upwards of $50 million of which has been carried forward in the estimates below, subject to further assessment which could increase this number.” 

The funding request breaks down several categories as follows:

  • 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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