Highway 34 in Big Thompson Canyon to fully reopen after 2013 floods

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. -- A stretch of U.S. Highway 34 is set to reopen on Thursday, nearly five years after floods heavily damaged the road.

The highway through the Big Thompson Canyon between Loveland and Estes Park will reopen at 4 p.m. Thursday. It will be the end of all the long-term closures on the highway since the flooding.

The end of the end of road closures did not come soon enough for Todd LeFever, who co-owns Beavers Den Leather, clothes and gear for motorcycle enthusiasts. Highway 34 is the lifeblood of his business.

"We’re still breathing. We are still alive and we are open and we are not giving up," LeFever said. "We almost had to close but we are not going to."

The Colorado Department of Transportation said it studied the hydraulic flow of the Big Thompson River in the canyon as a result of the 2013 flood and the massive flood in 1976.

U.S. 34 in Big Thompson Canyon. (Photo: Colorado Department of Transportation)

The canyon suffered widespread damage in 2013, with major sections of the roadway washed away along with access bridges and retaining walls.

The repairs are aimed to make the stretch of road more resilient to flooding in the future.