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Jul 30, 2013 7:51 PM by Zach Thaxton

Black Forest residents seek help with private road flooding

Residents of a small private road in Black Forest are seeking whatever help they can get in fixing huge holes and ruts caused by flash flooding during Monday's heavy rain.  A portion of Rusk Lane, near Shoup Road and Black Forest Road, washed away during the storms.  The narrow, private roadway was originally constructed in the early 1970s and services less than a dozen homes.  For decades, the road was privately maintained by Alan Havens, a resident of the Rusk Lane.  However, Havens' home and all of his road-improvement equipment burned in the Black Forest Fire.

"For a new (road grader), it would be well over $100,000," Havens said.  "Even a used one would be $30,000 to $50,000."  Havens' father helped build the road and purchased their property in, "like '71 or '72," Havens said.

Since the road is private, it is not maintained by El Paso County road crews and does not meet specifications to be considered a county road. "It was not built to county specs, but in order to do so, we would have had to go 60 feet wide and the cost of that would have been exorbitant," Havens said.  Havens and other neighbors, including the organization Crosses for Losses, are now asking for help.  "Outside communities need to know that Black Forest is definitely taking a hard hit," said Crosses for Losses founder Amanda Davis.

Help is not likely to come from the county.  "It's a frustrating issue because when you're dealing with private roads, the county cannot step in and actually take care of private roads unless there is a life, health, safety issue," said El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn.  He said solutions to private roadway issues need to be collaborative community solutions, including the private sector, because there is not enough funding at the county level to commit any resources to private roadways.

Late Tuesday afternoon, some help arrived.  Private front-end loaders from Rocky Top Resources arrived to move dirt to fill the large holes and ruts.

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