Governor: Great urgency over flood recovery

Photo: Highway 36 near LyonsSix months after flooding swamped the Front Range, Gov. John Hickenlooper says recovery work is progressing with “a great sense of urgency.” But, he says, "There’s just a lot of work.”

The governor says a top priority now is removing debris from waterways so they don’t clog when the mountain snowpack begins melting.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it was giving the state $199.3 million for disaster recovery. That's on top of $62.8 million HUD awarded the state in December.

The governor says while the money will help, it will cover only about 10 percent of the funding needed to rebuild roads, bridges, government facilities and other infrastructure damaged in September.

He also says whenever possible infrastructure will be rebuilt to be better protected from future flooding.

“We don’t know whether climate change is really changing,” he said. “We don’t know for sure whether that was a freak flood or we should get used to more frequent floods than we thought.”

Hickenlooper praised local and county officials, especially in Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties, for the amount of work they've done. "They’ve done a great job. But there’s always more to get done.”

That includes helping people rebuild homes, a process the governor says could take two years for some people.