Highway 7, last major flood-damaged roadway, to reopen Tuesday

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LYONS, Colo. -- The last major highway damaged by the Colorado floods will re-open on Tuesday.

That would be highway 7, just outside of Lyons, which looked like a disaster zone back in September. It's been under construction and shut down between Lyons and Raymond for months.

Governor John Hickenlooper will help celebrate the opening of the roadway Tuesday morning, a little after 10 a.m.

It's a major milestone not only because CDOT finished construction about a week early, but because the reopening will allow many residents in the area to return for the first time since Sept.  12.

While the bird’s-eye shots we saw from SkyFOX showed the magnitude of the damage in the area, it’s on the ground where you realize just how powerful the flood waters were.

“That’s where it makes an impact,” one resident said.

More than two and a half months later, the mood has finally changed, as the governor prepares to celebrate the quick work of CDOT crews, who finished the repairs to the highway about a week ahead of schedule.

"These guys at CDOT have moved heaven and earth -- mostly earth -- to get this thing open right,” Hickenlooper said.

Much like repairs to other damage highways, it took tons of heavy machinery and manpower to repair roughly 12 miles of road and infrastructure.

“This is reconstructing the road from the bottom up,” Kiewit Construction spokesperson Will White said. “There were areas where the river wiped out the road entirely.”

Crews repaired or replaced 27 culverts, totaling more than 4 football fields, and dumped over 14,000 pounds of asphalt. On Tuesday, cars and traffic will be a welcome sight -- a sight of celebration, a sight of what Colorado has been through and what it continues to overcome.

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