NEWS | Oct. 18, 2013

National Guard engineers from four states continue Colorado highway repair

By Colorado National Guard Public Affairs

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - National Guard members from four states are continuing to support the Colorado Department of Transportation in repairing a 25-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 36 between Lyons, Colo., and Estes Park, Colo.

Approximately 200 National Guard Citizen-Soldiers or -Airmen are working on the project at any given time.

Because of the large scope of the project, National Guard engineering units from Colorado, Utah, Montana and Kansas are assisting.

National Guard engineers from Kansas arrived Oct. 16, and most of the Guardsmen from Utah are scheduled to depart Oct. 18.

"All of the states coming together to help Colorado's citizens during their time of need shows the value of the National Guard," said Adjutant General of Colorado Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards. "The National Guard is all about neighbors helping neighbors, and our neighbors from the Utah National Guard?, Montana National Guard? and Kansas National Guard? are here to assist with the manpower and technical expertise needed for a project of this size and scope."

The National Guard is working on 18 different project sites along the highway. Four sites have been completed and others are at various levels of completion. The National Guard's portion of the project is an estimated 55 percent complete.

The goal of this project is to create a passable, 24-foot, two-lane causeway that will allow passenger vehicles to get through the area, before the weather halts construction.

Since operations began in September, the multi-state, National Guard team has worked 7,150 man hours, placed 320 feet of culvert, and hauled 10,980 cubic yards of fill material.

"This mission couldn't be completed without the help of other states' National Guards," Edwards said. "This is a true testament of the flexibility and dedication of our members who continued with this essential project, without delay, even through the recent government shutdown."

Flood support by the numbers:

Evacuation totals:

During the Colorado flooding, the military members provided aviation support, ground search and rescue, traffic control points, engineering support, and many other services to affected communities.

A total of 3,233 people and an estimated 1,300 pets were evacuated by either military aircraft or military vehicles.

At the peak of flood evacuation operations, more than 750 troops, along with 21 helicopters, 200 military vehicles, 20 ground search-and-rescue teams, and 67 traffic-control points operated in support of lifesaving and protection efforts.

Aviation evacuation totals:

Helicopters and crews evacuated a total of 2,526 people - 83 by hoist - and 1,047 pets who were in immediate danger or cut off because of impassable roads in Boulder County, Larimer County and Weld County.

Aviators transported 48.3 tons of cargo, including critical food, water and clothing; as well as transportation and engineering supplies.

The Colorado National Guard provided nine helicopters and crews from the 2nd Battalion, 135th General Support Aviation at Buckley Air Force base in Aurora, Colo., and the High-Altitude Army National Guard Aviation Training site in Gypsum, Colo.

The Wyoming National Guard provided five helicopters and crews from the 5th Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment in Cheyenne, Wyo.

The U.S. Army provided seven helicopters and crews from the 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.

Ground evacuation totals:

A total of 285 Colorado Notional Guard Soldiers and Airmen were assigned to ground search-and-rescue efforts. There were a total of 23 GSAR teams; a GSAR team consisted of three Light Medium Tactical vehicles and six Guardsmen.

Colorado National Guardsmen evacuated a cumulative 707 people and an estimated 300 pets by ground search-and-rescue efforts.

GSAR teams assisted local authorities in Boulder County (including the major effort in Lyons, Colo.), Weld County and Larimer County.
Colorado National Guardsmen filled, moved and stacked more than 12,000 sandbags in Jefferson County to help civil authorities mitigate flooding in affected areas.

Security totals:

At the peak of operations, Colorado National Guard members manned 67 checkpoints in Boulder County, Larimer County and Weld County. They assisted local authorities to ensure public safety and to protect property of those displaced by the floods.

More than 590 Soldiers and Airmen worked side-by-side with local authorities at traffic-control points and roving patrols in affected areas.