BOULDER -- Boulder County officials are asking motorists and cyclists to avoid using county roads, especially in the western county's foothills and mountain areas, while Transportation Department crews repair roads and bridges and while utilities crews strive to restore electricity and natural gas services to residents and communities there.
 “Boulder County is hard at work to re-establish our infrastructure and reconnect residents to their communities and their homes,” county officials stated on their Facebook page.
 “Given the current status of our roads, we are urging people to minimize their use of the roads within Boulder County. It's incredibly difficult to rebuild a road with people on them, so please stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.”
 Sheriff Joe Pelle, in a Boulder County-produced video poasted on You Tube — http://youtu.be/A5tyM54ocwc — asked county residents to be patient, saying: “We are in for a very long haul in regards to our ability to provide even bsic medical service and law enforcement services in the mountains.”
 County Transportation director George Gerstle said the estimated cost of repairing county road and bridge damages from the rainstorms and floods that began obliterating some of those roadways and crossings on Sept. 12 could exceed $100 million.
 Gerstle said on the county's video that his department's highest initial priority is trying to reconnect people with their homes.

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In the county video, he asked people “to stay off the roads unless you absolutely have to be on them.”
Cindy Domenico, chairwoman of the Board of County Commissioners, said in a Wednesday news release: “We kindly ask that people stay out of the foothills and mountain areas from Foothills highway to Peak to Peak this fall for recreational purposes, while our county,s tate and federal partners work to restore access to all of our valued mountain communities. 
“Right now we need our residents and visitors to access our central mountain communities only for essential purposes and to give room to our road crews and law enforcement officials to do their jobs,” Domenico said 
County officials asked mountain residents themselves to minimize trips into and out of damaged areas, and visitors and plains residents are requested to curtail recreation in the mountain area between U.S. Highway 36 and Colo. Highway 72 this fall, although north-south travel will continued to be allowed along Colo. 72, the Peak to Peak Highway. 
Visitors can get access to Estes Park in Larimer County via Colo. 72, but Boulder County officials said they’re asking visitors not try to venture to the east or west of that highway in Boulder County, particularly when many of those connecting roads have been closed to public access. 
Pelle said in that news release that “people who want to recreate in the mountains or go see the destruction will actually hamper access for emergency responders, utility workers and mountain residens who actually need the access. For this reason, we’re asking people who don’t have to go to the mountains to stay away and to understand that this is a very long-term problem.” 
Said Gerstle: “It is incredibly difficult to rebuild roads with people on them, so please avoid the mountain roads unless absolutely necessary, and minimize even residential trips to keep roads clear for heavy equipment and emergency vehicles. 
“It is difficult and akes much longer for the crews to fix a road with traffic on it,” Gerstle said. “The fewer people using the road, the faster we can get the work done.” 
County officials also noted that the U.S. Forest Service has closed all its lands in Boulder County for all recreational purposes, such as camping, hiking or hunting, until further notice. 
Also closed, for the time being, are the county’s mountain and foothills parks, open space areas and public trails. 
“Our staff has been assessing damage and working to repair trails as quickly as possible, but there are many parks and trails that may be closed for a significant duration as these areas have experienced extreme damage and the tails are unsafe,” said Boulder County Parks and Open Space director Ron Stewart.