CDOT: US 36 Repairs Will Likely Take A ‘Matter Of Months’

Hwy 36 Embankment Failure HV
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A massive section of embankment that carries the Boulder Turnpike, Highway 36, over railroad tracks near Church Ranch Boulevard, collapsed. Colorado Department of Transportation officials say the collapse was likely caused by water getting underneath the roadway.

Repairs to a collapsed section of U.S. 36 near Westminster and Broomfield will likely take "a matter of months," Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Shoshana Lew said Thursday.

"It's a little soon to provide a final timeline," Lew said nearly a week after several lanes of the highly traveled link between Denver and Boulder closed. "But you know, we're talking likely about a matter of months."

Also on Thursday, the department's Transportation Commission approved a $20.4 million draw from its contingency fund to pay for repairs and other costs related to the incident.

A landslide under the road caused a retaining wall to fail near Church Ranch Boulevard, officials said. On Wednesday, CDOT chose Wisconsin-based Kraemer North America as its contractor for the project.

Lew said $400,000 should cover emergency response and traffic management costs, as well as reimbursement to RTD for running free buses for two days. The remaining $20 million will go toward repair costs.

"It's still a number that could be variable because we're still learning about the scope of what the project is going to need," Lew said in a phone interview.

Lew said that disbursement will use up much of the existing balance in the department's contingency fund, which is used to cover unexpected expenses like off-season snow storms.

"When you have construction and reconstruction involved, you get into a different number of zeros than in a snow or ice event," she said.

An investigation will take place to determine which party — the agency or a contractor — was at fault for the road's failure, Lew said. Depending on the outcome, CDOT could be reimbursed for the costs. She couldn't say how long that review will take.

One of the contractors that built the affected section of U.S. 36, California-based Granite Construction, said in a statement Thursday that it will "cooperate in any investigation into the collapse."

"Until there is more verifiable detail on this road section, we cannot offer any additional information," the company's statement said. "Granite will continue to monitor the situation."