Coloradans watch with shock a huge crack that became a gaping hole swallowing parts of U.S. 36 between Denver and Boulder, Colorado

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Last weekend, Coloradans watched with shock as part of U.S. 36 between Denver and Boulder was closed due to a crack that eventually became a gaping hole in the road.

The collapsed stretch of eastbound U.S. 36 in Westminster continues to sink at an inch per hour or 2 feet per day.

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US 36 highway collapsed between Boulder and Denver in Colorado. Picture via Youtube video

A 300-foot stretch of the eastbound lanes and a retaining wall in the highway’s run-up to a railroad overpass began cracking then collapsing late last week just north of Church Ranch Boulevard in Westminster.

That it took place in a section of the highway built just a few years ago made it even more frustrating.

As of Tuesday, the length of the highway with the sinkhole was about 300 feet — almost the length of a football field.

A state transportation commission has approved $20.4 million to repair the collapsed stretch of eastbound U.S. 36 in Westminster, which continues to sink at an inch per hour or 2 feet per day, Colorado Department of Transportation chief engineer Josh Laipply said.

The higway will be closed during several weeks of course:

Now, CDOT rerouted two eastbound lanes onto the westbound side of the highway. More traffic jams in perspective… And

What makes them so sure the westbound side is safe?

The question is even more pointed since the westbound side is now pulling double duty, carrying an emergency configuration of two lanes in each direction while the eastbound side continues buckling and sinking.

Colorado transportation officials have assured the public that the westbound lanes of U.S. 36 through Westminster are structurally sound and safe — despite the utter collapse of the eastbound span just across the median, caused by soil shifting dramatically beneath it.

Now, most of the discussion ahead will focus on who will pay for the repairs. Tax payers, most probably!

[DenverPost, DailyCamera, ColoradoSun]

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