Last Week, Bennet and Hickenlooper Led Colorado Congressional Delegation in Supporting the State’s Initial Request for Emergency Federal Resources to Aid Response Efforts
(Tour of Glenwood Canyon)
Glenwood Springs –– Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet surveyed the damage to I-70 through Glenwood Canyon and met with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and local leaders to better understand the additional federal resources needed to support the effort to clean up and repair the extensive structural damage to the highway and the Colorado River.
“This iconic canyon is a critical transportation corridor that connects Colorado from east to west. It’s vital for our economy and way of life,” said Bennet. “We must continue to come together at the local, state, and federal levels to secure the funding and resources to repair the highway infrastructure and the watershed, protect Glenwood Springs’ water supply, support the local communities, and minimize damage from future landslides and debris flows.”
“We are grateful for Sen. Bennet’s commitment to the state’s needs in Glenwood Canyon, including the remaining permanent repairs and long term resiliency needs,” said Shoshana Lew, Executive Director for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). “The quick and full commitment of support from our congressional delegation has been critical to securing the federal support Colorado needs to handle this response and keep its other commitments.”
“Glenwood Springs has experienced more than our share of climate change-related events over the last several years. From 500 year storms to the Grizzly Creek Fire, the mountain communities of Colorado are in peril,” said Glenwood Springs Mayor Jonathan Godes. “We need to address both the symptoms, and the cause, of climate change, and this starts with a workforce that is trained and focused on the task of transforming to a clean energy economy. Glenwood Springs stands with Senator Bennet in his call for strong climate action as we continue to address our infrastructure needs."
“The impacts of wildfire on our watersheds and the Colorado River have significant impacts on our cities, recreation, agriculture, and the important ecological balance of our aquatic habitat,” said Andy Mueller, General Manager of the Colorado River District. “That is why the Colorado River District has teamed up with the USGS and local partners to install and operate an early warning system which constantly monitors water quality.”
Recent mudslides caused extreme damage to I-70 through Glenwood Canyon and diverted the course of the Colorado River. Colorado Governor Jared Polis formally authorized CDOT to request emergency resources from the FHWA Emergency Relief program on Sunday, August 8.
Last weekend, Bennet and Hickenlooper led the Colorado Congressional Delegation in urging the Biden Administration to quickly approve the request. Four days later, the Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Highway Administration awarded the CDOT $11.6 million to begin repairs to I-70. FHWA emergency funds can be used to rebuild roads after natural disasters and improve resiliency to harden against future disasters.
Bennet will continue to work with Governor Polis, Senator Hickenlooper, and the rest of the delegation on a Presidential Disaster Declaration to secure additional federal resources for recovery efforts.
B-roll and photos of the damage to I-70 through Glenwood Canyon are available HERE.
(Roundtable discussion in Glenwood Springs)