Video: Estes Park open to visitors again, Highway 7 restrictions lifted

Update: Moments ago, the Facebook page for the tourist organization affiliated with Estes Park, which has been closed to visitors since flooding swamped the town last week, posted the following: "Highway 7 is now open without restrictions! Please try to limit traffic as much as possible to allow crews to work on repairs." Continue to read our previous coverage, which makes it clear why the closure was poorly timed and what the town's down to prepare to put out the welcome mat once again. [jump]

Original post, 6:43 a.m. September 18: Yesterday, we noted that Estes Park, one of Colorado's favorite tourist destinations, was still closed to visitors due to flooding. Moreover, the timing is particularly bad: Not only are the leaves about to change and town elk in bugling mode, but Tuesday marks the release of Doctor Sleep, Stephen King's sequel to The Shining, which was inspired by a trip to Estes' Stanley Hotel.

At this hour, road closures remain in place. But residents and officials are hopeful they'll reopen soon -- perhaps as soon as later today.

The most recent update from the Colorado Department of Transportation, issued at 8:30 p.m. yesterday, listed the following roads under the heading "Ongoing Closures in Northern Colorado:"

• U.S. 34 between Glade Road and Estes Park

• U.S. 34 eastbound from Grand Lake to Estes Park -- essential travel only, checkpoints in place

• U.S. 36 between Boulder and Estes Park

• SH 7 between Lyons and Estes Park

However, the Visit Estes Park Facebook page makes it clear that progress is being made via this photo....

...and an accompanying post that reads: "Elkhorn Ave. is open, as are many of the businesses along the street. It's only a matter of time before the highways are too. #MountainStrong #COFlood."

This same theme was struck by a 9News report that juxtaposed a shot of downtown Estes during the flood....

...with one from yesterday: As you can see, a layer of dried mud and dust coats the streets, necessitating the ironic-under-the-circumstances use of water trucks to wash them clean.

Over at the official Estes Park Facebook page, more hopeful signs are noted. Postal service is expected back before long, and other fixes are in the works, as is pointed out in this item:

A foot bridge has been constructed between Little Valley and Rambling Drive over what used to be Fish Creek Road. Roads in Little Valley are still under repair. We are looking into how to provide this solution to other neighborhoods along Fish Creek.
FEMA representatives will be in town today from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the Trail Ridge Room at the Estes Park Conference Center, 101 S. Saint Vrain Avenue, to speak personally with flooding victims, and a volunteer clearinghouse will be open and fully operational beginning at 8 a.m. Residents wanting to help can reach out via the e-mail address [email protected] or 970-577-3974 -- and folks who need volunteer assistance are encouraged to phone 970-577-3975.

Thanks to such initiatives, plus the efforts of CDOT crews and the like, the Estes Park welcome mat should be out again soon.

Here's the aforementioned 9News report.

More from our News archive: "Estes Park still closed to visitors due to flooding."