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Flood-Damaged Coal Creek Canyon Road Reopens

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (AP/CBS4) - The flood-damaged highway in Coal Creek Canyon northwest of Denver is now open.

Gov. John Hickenlooper was on hand when Colorado Highway 72 formally reopened on Monday.

Damage from the September floods forced the state to close the highway from the junction with Colorado 93 outside Westminster to the junction with Colorado 119 near Nederland.

Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Don Hunt said there were a lot of happy people who showed up for the reopening ribbon cutting.

"This was a tougher one in some ways. There are more people who live on this highway who have direct driveway access," Hunt said. "There was a gas line that was exposed for miles, just popped right out of the river bed, and we had a lot of road missing in scattered patches throughout."

Hunt said Highway 72 got some more permanent work done to it compared to some other highways that have already been reopened.

"I think this one is closer to permanent because the road base itself held up in so many places. We could backfill the holes and get the asphalt in," Hunt said. "We also didn't want to come back with big projects after this because of the number of people that live here."

Hunt said there will be continuing construction, but CDOT wanted to get a lot of it done while the roadway was closed.

He said the road actually took more material to fix than U.S. 36 from Lyons to Estes Park.

With Highway 72 now open, that leaves two major roads still closed -- Highway 7 from Lyons to Raymond and Highway 34 from Loveland to Estes Park. Highway 7 is now open all the way to Estes Park.

The floods killed nine people, damaged or destroyed nearly 2,000 homes and washed out hundreds of miles of roads.

Colorado Floods: How To Help

The recent floods are impacting families and communities throughout Colorado, so CBS4 has compiled a list of ways you can support the local communities impacted by the floods.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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