Highway 34 Temporarily Open in Big Thompson Canyon For Thanksgiving Holiday
The Colorado Department of Transportation will temporarily open U.S. 34 to all drivers traveling between Estes Park and Loveland over the Thanksgiving Holiday. The annual "Catch the Glow" parade is Friday, November 25 at 5:30 pm and runs the length of Elkhorn Ave. in Estes Park.
The three-mile section of highway on the east end of the canyon that has been closed since mid-October will open at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23, to all motorists with or without residential permits. A traffic signal and flaggers will help guide drivers through a single-lane section of highway near Mile Marker 77. Drivers should be prepared to stop for up to 10 minutes. This stretch from Mile Marker 77 to 80 will close again on Sunday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m.
What happens after the holiday Weekend?
Until just before the Memorial Day weekend 2017, the canyon will be closed to through-traffic, however open to all drivers east of mile marker 80 and west of mile marker 77. To reach properties in the canyon, and travel between Estes Park and Loveland, drivers should use the detour on US 36 and SH 66.
Why has Highway 34 Been Closed?
US 34 Big Thompson Canyon’s roads and bridges were heavily damaged during the 2013 floods with many homes damaged and over 100 air lifted evacuations. The canyon and its residents also suffered from flooding in 1976. As a result of these two events CDOT has been studying the hydraulic flow of the river in the canyon and its impact on the road and bridges along its path while looking for safety improvements and resiliency solutions to prevent/protect against future flood events.