Construction of a critical piece of infrastructure intended to reduce the impact of flooding is on the verge of being completed.
Crews are wrapping up the installation of a giant culvert beneath Highway 24. They have been working since February, but fell behind their original April 30 competition date. CDOT says the project should be finished by the end of the weekend.
Last summer, heavy rain on the Waldo Canyon burn scar frequently caused flash flooding and mudslides on the highway. Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe says the old culvert that was in place last summer was too small to contain all the debris sweeping off the hills and onto the roadway.
"Debris was clogging the [old] culvert, so even just a little bit of rain that would run off the sides of those hills, if the culvert was clogged it would spill onto the road, and we'd have the disaster that was last year."
CDOT says the new culvert is 10 times larger than the old one. They hope it will prevent water and debris from getting onto the highway. This won't necessarily end the road closures on Highway 24 that were so prevalent last summer, but CDOT hopes they will only have to shut down the highway in extreme cases.
CDOT says the only way the project could be delayed past the weekend is if it rains Saturday while crews are paving asphalt. Otherwise, the project--and the lane closures that have been in place for three months--will conclude by Sunday.
Just in time for monsoon season.