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BOULDER, Colorado- With snow already dusting Colorado's highest peaks, the state is racing to replace key mountain highways washed away by flooding.

In some cases, that means laying down crude, one-lane gravel roads just to throw a lifeline to isolated towns before winter descends.

More than 200 miles of state highways and at least 50 bridges were damaged or destroyed, plus many more county roads. Fully rebuilding all of them will take years.

Amy Ford is a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation. She says the top priority is to reconnect communities as quickly as possible.

In many other places, road crews would be able to work through the fall and much of the winter. But in the Rockies, the cold weather comes earlier and brings with it countless dangers.

BEN NEARY, Associated Press