FEMA Mitigation Best Practices: Keeping the Highway Safe   [open pdf - 34KB]

"The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been faced with some serious challenges since the June 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire in El Paso County. The catastrophic fire burned over 18,000 acres of vegetation leaving a burn scar that does not absorb water. Because of the burn scar, CDOT officials have been concerned about frequent rain storms that cause debris runoff. This runoff can result in floodwaters flowing over stretches of U.S. Highway 24 through Waldo Canyon. This overflowing can quickly turn into a catastrophic event. Traffic on U.S. Highway 24 averages 25,000 vehicles per day between west Manitou Springs and Cascade, four miles to the northwest. This roadway is a key transportation corridor between Colorado Springs and communities nestled throughout the Front Range. This problem was demonstrated on July 9, 2012, when a mudslide crossed Highway 24 just west of Cascade after an afternoon rainstorm in the region. It sent charred logs, mud, rocks, and ash to the roadway. CDOT quickly closed one lane of the road each way. 'For the safety of the motorist we have had to close the highways due to sediment and other debris on the road,' said Dave Watt, resident Engineer for the Department of Transportation. 'The closing of Highway 24 affects motorists, commuters, gamblers, and tourists, along with local business owners and civic leaders.'"

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