After calculating all the numbers, CDOT estimates it will cost $20M to repair the damaged portion of U.S. 36 in Westminster.
Since the crack first formed on U.S. 36, things have gone from bad to worse. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has done the math and it will cost a whopping $20.4 million total to fix the hole that has formed in the highway.
Here’s how they broke down the costs:
The first $20 million is an estimate to just fix the structure and the road deck only. Then, $175K is for the emergency response and incident command, while $100K is for the forensic team to figure out why and how this happened. The rest of the $140K goes to the RTD – they're being reimbursed for making the Flatiron Flyer bus free for a two-day period, and this was done to cover the cost of the Flatiron and what they would have missed out on those days.
CDOT's chief engineer Josh Laipply says that the timeframe is not yet determined, but it could take weeks to fix it.
"Getting traffic back on it, that's a certain time period, and then getting it to where we've got the panels back up and everything looks good, there's a difference to me of that. Operational functionality, weeks," he said.
While we wait for the highway to get fixed and we all grumble and mumble about the potential traffic ahead of us …
Courtesy of Giphy
... Let’s ask the big question: Why did U.S. 36 collapse?
The answer? Fat Clay.
"There's a layer of clay underneath the wall," said Laipply, "It's 'fat clay.' Fat clay really likes water and clay holds together and actually can serve with some bearing capacity, that you can set some stuff on top of when it's not wet. When it gets wet, cohesion goes away and things fail."
This means that the road is still sinking. In fact, CDOT estimates that the road has dropped 10 to 12 feet since the crack was first noticed. But, there's some good news! While the eastbound side is sinking, the experts at CDOT assure us that the westbound side is just fine.
“We are monitoring that other side. We don't anticipate, nor have we seen any settlement on that side. And it is a little bit of a separate structure from a geotechnical perspective,” Laipply said. Silver lining? Maybe. In the meantime, join in on the fun and add your nickname for the sinkhole.
What's your nickname for the sinkhole in U.S. 36? Sound off in the comments section below.