New Procedures Instituted for Highway 24 Flooding
August 15, 2013 - Southeastern Colorado/CDOT Region 2 - EL PASO COUNTY – The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is establishing new protocols to help enhance safety for the traveling public on Ute Pass when flooding is likely or imminent.
Effective immediately, CDOT Maintenance crews will actively patrol U.S. 24 in the Waldo Canyon burn area between Manitou Springs and Cascade, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through October 1. In addition, when the National Weather Service issues a Flash Flood Warning or more than ¼ of an inch of rain is detected in the burn area rain gauges, CDOT and the Colorado State Patrol will close the highway. It will remain closed until the warning is lifted, any debris is removed from the highway and the road is safe for travel.
Electronic message signs along the highway also will display the following, depending on current conditions or forecasts:
Proceed With Caution
Travel Not Recommended
“We learned last Friday just how quickly a Flood Watch can turn into a raging flash flood so we’re instituting these new procedures because we cannot compromise public safety in the interest of keeping the highway open,” said CDOT Regional Transportation Director Tom Wrona. “While we recognize this may be an inconvenience for some travelers at times, we must be cautious.”
Travel on U.S. 24 averages 25,000 vehicles per day between west Manitou Springs and Cascade.
CDOT currently is investigating early flash flood detection systems that would provide automatic electronic message sign warnings and automated road closures.
If a person is driving through a flash flood area, the Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests you stay in your vehicle and don’t ignore barricades or other closure devices by driving around them. The following precautions also are suggested:
Updated information regarding U.S. 24 closures is available at www.cotrip.org or by calling 511. To receive closure updates via e-mail or text, visit www.coloradodot.info and click on the cell-phone icon in the upper right-hand corner. The link takes you to a list of items you can subscribe to, including Southeast Colorado – Traffic and Travel.