NEWS | Oct. 28, 2013

National Guard units from four states pitching in to fix Colorado roads

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.

The National Guard is working on 18 different project sites along the highway. Fourteen of the 18 sites are completed and paved or ready for paving. The National Guard's portion of the project is ahead of schedule and is now an estimated 86 percent complete.

"This is why we serve - to help our neighbors in need, whether it's our neighbor in Utah, or our neighbors in Colorado," said Sgt. Maj. Shane Rothwell, the task force's senior enlisted leader. "The men and women here are working sunrise to sunset, seven days a week. I'm very proud of the work ethic and dedication shown every day, by every member of the team here."

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 9,060 man hours, placed 320 feet of culvert, removed 1,155 feet of guardrail and hauled 14,050 cubic yards of fill material. 

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, Fort Carson, Colo.

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 Guard members 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 Guard members 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.