Their mission complete, more than 75 Kansas Soldiers and Airmen returned home Oct. 30 after two weeks in Colorado repairing roads washed away during a flash flood.
U.S. Highway 36, between Lyons and Estes Park, became inaccessible after a flood on Sept. 12 cut off residents in the smaller, rural communities who live along the 25-mile stretch of highway. Since that day, more than 375 Army and Air National Guardsman from Colorado, Utah, Montana and Kansas have worked to rebuild the highway. The Guard units finished a month earlier than projected.
Kansas Army and Air National Guard units deployed together as a single unit, with soldiers and airmen working side-by-side under a multi-branched leadership team. The soldiers and airmen worked sunrise to sunset, seven days a week to repair the highway.
The Kansas units included the 891st Engineer Battalion (Iola), 226th Engineer Company (Augusta), 242nd Engineer Company (Coffeyville), 772nd Mobility Augmentation Company (Pittsburg), 190th Civil Engineering Squadron (Topeka), and 184th Intelligence Wing Civil Engineering Squadron (Wichita). The units comprise civil engineers and heavy equipment operators.
Work included building road surfaces, removing debris, which included cars, trees and massive boulders, removing asphalt, filling land areas washed away by the water, and installing culverts. Since operations began in September, the multi-state, joint force National Guard team has worked 20,414 man hours, placed 320 feet of culvert, and hauled 34,200 cubic yards of fill material ‑ enough dirt to fill more than 250,000 standard bath tubs.
The Kansas team arrived back in Salina, Kan. at approximately 4 p.m. Wednesday.
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