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Oct 19, 2013 11:04 PM by Tony Spehar - tspehar@koaa.com

After fire and floods multiple construction projects ongoing in Black Forest

Work on roads in Black Forest is going at a fever pitch as crews try to complete projects delayed by the Black Forest Fire as well as repair infrastructure damaged by the flames and the flooding that followed the fire.

The road to recovery for the Black Forest area is going to be a long one. Amanda Davis, director of the Crosses for Losses assistance organization, can tell that by the fact that over four-months later she's still busy helping those who lost everything in the fire that destroyed nearly 500 homes.

"There's people that have already rebuilt and there are people that are just now coming in to see what has happened," Davis described.

A summer of fire and then floods hasn't made things any easier. In an effort to aid in recovery El Paso County and the Pikes Peak Regional Transportation Authority (PPRTA) have ramped up work on roads in the area. It hasn't all been smooth and without controversy, graffiti on the side of building next the newly rebuilt intersection of Burgess and Black Forest Roads reads "stop PPRTA."

"We hear a lot of people very displeased with the Burgess intersection that said that they weren't informed that that was happening," Davis explained.

Burgess Road and Black Forest Road are being upgraded, to the annoyance of some. On Saturday morning a town-hall meeting was held allowing residents to discuss road construction issues with county leaders. Amanda Davis said she was hopeful that the meeting revealed the need for better communication about work projects.

While there is debate over some of the work, other construction projects are welcome. The work to rebuild a section of Casey Lane that was completely washed-out by flash flooding from the Black Forest Burn Scar is almost done and a problem culvert along Shoup Road is scheduled to be replaced.

"We're doing flood repair, we're assisting with the recovery efforts, we have a big project that's coming up where we're going to have to be removing hazardous trees from the right of way and then our regular projects and maintenance going on in the forest," described County Engineer Andre Brackin.

The county is working to complete significant construction work on Hodgen Road, Vollmer Road, Burgess Road and Black Forest Road. Those projects were delayed by the Black Forest Fire. At the same time crews are trying to repair damage from the fire and flooding.

"We're grappling with having to get these road projects done as they are funded this year at the same time as we're trying to do our best with helping citizens out with recovery efforts," Brackin explained.

While some are hoping for better communication with the county about work projects, many are still thankful that vital work is being done ahead of a winter that could cause numerous new problems.

"When that first heavy snowfall or blizzard may come with what we've seen recently where is all that runoff going to go?" Amanda Davis asked. "It's important that something is in place otherwise this winter could become unspeakable."

Many of the current projects are scheduled to be completed in the next few months with delays possible due to weather.

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