Aug 15, 2013 12:24 PM by Elaine Sheridan
Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)is implementing new proceedures for closures on Highway 24 due to flood threats.
Effective immediately, CDOT Maintenance crews will actively patrol U.S. 24 in the Waldo Canyon burn area between Manitou Springs and Cascade, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through October 1.
In addition, when the National Weather Service issues a Flash Flood Warning or more than 1/4 of an inch of rain is detected in the burn area rain gauges, CDOT and the Colorado State Patrol will close the highway. It will remain closed until the warning is lifted, any debris is removed from the highway and the road is safe for travel.
Electronic message signs along the highway also will display the following, depending on current conditions or forecasts:
Flash Flood Watch
Proceed With Caution
Flash Flood Advisory
Travel Not Recommended
"We learned last Friday just how quickly a Flood Watch can turn into a raging flash flood so we're instituting these new procedures because we cannot compromise public safety in the interest of keeping the highway open," said CDOT Regional Transportation Director Tom Wrona. "While we recognize this may be an inconvenience for some travelers at times, we must be cautious."
Travel on U.S. 24 averages 25,000 vehicles per day between west Manitou Springs and Cascade.
CDOT currently is investigating early flash flood detection systems that would provide automatic electronic message sign warnings and automated road closures.