EL PASO COUNTY — The string of flash-flood type rainstorms in Southern Colorado is taking a toll on roads. One of the stretches showing the aftermath of all heavy rain is Highway 24 heading into the mountains between Colorado Springs and Woodland Park.
There is often a lot about potholes through the freeze-thaw cycle of winter. Colorado Department of Transportation supervisors say the heavy rain of summer monsoon season can do just as much damage. "It's a cycle, monsoon season and everything, we're out there just as much as we are in the winter," said CDOT Maintenance Supervisor Brad Bauer.
"More water, more infiltration," said Bauer. Water gets into cracks and then under pavement. Large amounts of water will break away chunks of pavement, causing cracks to get wider, and can wash away unpaved road shoulders.
When rain is a day after day, week to week weather pattern, there is an edited version of repairs. "We'll get out there and get the really bad spots, make sure they're taken care of even if we have to go back out again, but we do watch the weather." Repair crews avoid wasting time and money by racing to repairs that could be ruined by on-going storms. They move quickly on damage that is dangerous or likely to get much worse with more rain.
The repair timeline is also impacted by Colorado’s growth and heavy summer time traffic on roads like Highway 24. Many drivers would rather deal with bumps in the road than bumper to bumper traffic caused by lane closures for repairs. CDOT Maintenance Supervisors work to schedule repairs overnight, which requires extra time and planning.