US Highway 287 Flood Mitigation Feasibility Study

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Public Meeting Notice

Thank you to the citizens that participated in the open house on March 2, We greatly appreciate your attendance and input into the project!

In April 2016, the City began a project to evaluate the feasibility of reducing flood risks immediately up and downstream of Highway 287 (Lincoln Avenue) crossing of the Big Thompson River. This is a long-standing problem area brought to a critical level by the 2013 Flood.

The purpose of the feasibility study is to determine the level of improvements needed to maximize benefits in this reach of the Big Thompson River at a reasonable cost and provide recommendation whether the City and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) should move forward to replace the Highway 287 bridge. It is also the next step taken from the Hwy 287 Strategic Plan, which contained the input of many businesses and citizens in the area.

The project was partially funded by a $125,000 Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) planning grant administered by the State of Colorado’s Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). The goal of the project was to take the first step towards changing the direction of infrastructure and land use decisions in the reach to one based on long term resiliency, maximizing benefits while minimizing long term costs, significantly improving life safety and emergency access, reducing impacts and economic hardships to local businesses during a flood, restoring natural river and floodplain functions where there currently are none, capitalizing on the opportunity for a more natural and beautiful riparian corridor, improving water quality, and creating a sustainable and economically stable environment for future community and business development.

A draft Highway 287 Flood Mitigation Feasibility Study is currently under review with a final report expected by March 17, 2017. The study showed replacing the bridge with a new 240-foot span structure and significantly improving the river’s floodplain capacity up and downstream of the bridge are both necessary in order to provide a substantial reduction in flood risk. Replacing the bridge is necessary, but it has little value on its own without also constructing floodplain capacity improvements. The proposed project would currently remove 47 insurable structures from the floodplain, remove 23 from the floodway, increase the development potential for 43 properties, allow for 20,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to flow under the new bridge (the current bridge capacity is only 4,500 cfs), and prevent overtopping of Highway 287 in a 100-year flood event. The total cost, which is still under review, was estimated at $16.9 million, including design, permitting, right-of-way/easement acquisition, construction, anticipated inflation, and a 25 percent contingency.

Click here to view the Highway 287 Conceptual Plan Map [PDF]