New Highway 24 Flash Flooding Plan

11 News is learning an even larger portion of Highway 24 will likely be shut down when there's a threat of flash flooding.

Last year Ute Pass closed from Cave of the Winds in Manitou Springs to Cascade. Now, CDOT wants to extend the closure another few miles to Chipita Park. CDOT says it's about safety. The proposed cut-off point has an actual spot where drivers can safely turn around and avoid getting stuck on the highway.

Frances McCardie lives in Cascade and saw the danger last year first hand.

“It was quite scary and having the highway closed so many times."

This year CDOT is hoping to extend the closure points of Highway 24.

“It may be that the National Weather Service posted a warning. We close it. We just don’t want a tragedy again,” Theresa Springer with the Coalition of Upper South Platte said.

In the event of a flash flood, local schools like Ute Pass Elementary have an emergency plan in place.

“If the water is coming through close to the school they'll want to get kids to higher ground,” El Paso County Commissioner, Sallie Clark explained.

If the highway shuts down, school leaders also plan to go into "shelter-in-place." That means students can't leave the school until the road reopens.

For McCardie, she plans to have an emergency kit ready and says hopefully she will be off the road.

"There's not much we can do. I just hope I’m home if or when it closes," McCardie said.

There are several projects going on right now along the highway for flood mitigation. A giant culvert is being installed under Highway 24 that's 10 times larger than the old one. The project is behind schedule, but we're told it should be complete by the end of May.

If you missed the flash flood meeting Tuesday night, there is another one this Thursday at Manitou Springs City Hall from 7 to 9 p.m.


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