Boulder business worries about economic impact from U.S. 36 collapse

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WESTMINSTER, Colo. — U.S. 36 is Andy Danielson’s home away from home. It’s the highway where he’s spent thousands of hours of his life.

“Put a blindfold on me and I could probably get you to the airport,” he said.

Or at least that used to be the case. U.S. 36 now looks like it was split in two by an earthquake.

“It looks awful. Absolutely awful. The first thing that comes to mind is just frustration,” Danielson said.

Danielson and his business partner Carlos Alvarez-Aranyos own Boulder Transport, a company trying to compete with well known transportation companies like Uber and Lyft.

As the chasm on U.S. 36 has continued to grow, so have the costs to their company.

“I’ve seen cancellations across the board generally. We’re not driving to Denver as often, Alvarez-Aranyos said. “I don’t know what this is going to do but the possibility on the table is its going to cost me my company.”

However, what makes it all that much worse, according to Carlos, is that he warned CDOT something like this could happen, and so did engineers.

An environmental impact study from 2009 states concerns about the “collapsing soils” U.S. 36 was built on.

Carlos is also worried about accountability.

A company called Plenary Roads Denver is tasked with maintaining the road as part of a private-public partnership.

It’s not clear who will be responsible for repairing and financing the repairs.

That’s not reassuring to business owners like Carlos who just want the road fixed, with the promise it won’t happen again.

“I think it’s going to take months. I think they’re going to have to rebuild significant portions of U.S. 36,” Carlos said.

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