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CDOT Implements Ute Pass Flash Flood Protocol

May 7, 2014 - Southeastern Colorado/CDOT Region 2 - EL PASO COUNTY – The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is implementing this year’s protocol when flash flooding threatens U.S. 24 west of Colorado Springs.

When one of the following occurs – a rainstorm is forecast, a flash flood watch is in place, Doppler radar is forecasting rain, or text alerts from rain gauges indicate significant moisture for the Waldo Canyon Burn Scar Area – CDOT crews immediately will be dispatched to monitor and patrol Highway 24 between Manitou Spring and Cascade for the duration of any predicted rain activity.

“We’ll have one person stationed at Cascade for eastbound closures, one at the Cave of the Winds for westbound closures, and a plow truck continuously traveling up and down the corridor for monitoring purposes,” said CDOT Maintenance Foreman Kenny Quintana.  “A supervisor will also be overseeing these operations and serve as the point of contact for all required notifications regarding the status of the highway.”

In addition, anytime the National Weather Service issues a Flash Flood Warning or ¼ of an inch or more of rain is detected by the burn scar rain gauges, CDOT and the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) will close the highway.  CDOT and the CSP also will sweep the corridor to ensure there are no individuals and/or vehicles remaining in the canyon.

The highway will be reopened when the Flash Flood Warning has been lifted, the rain storm has ended, any storm-related debris has been removed and the CDOT supervisor has determined the highway is safe for travel.

CDOT also will activate its electronic message signs to read as follows on U.S. 24 and Interstate 25 when possible flooding is forecast:

Flash Flood Watch:

“Flash Flood Watch”

“Please Use Caution”

 

Flash Flood Advisory

“Flash Flood Advisory”

“Travel Not Recommended”

 

Flash Flood Warning

“Flash Flood Warning”

“Road Closed”

The highway may also be closed for a Flash Flood Watch or Flash Flood Advisory if the supervisor deems it necessary for public safety.  However, if skies remain predominantly clear and the chance for rain is minimal during a Flash Flood Watch, CDOT crews may stand down.   If a Flash Flood Watch or Advisory is issued for several hours or days and skies remain overcast, CDOT crews will continue monitoring the canyon area.

This protocol continues through September 30, 2014.

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