PUEBLO COUNTY — Monday night’s rainfall led to some major flooding in part of Pueblo County. Now neighbors and even the school district are upset something hasn’t been done to prevent this.
It was not what Esther Lucero and her girlfriend were hoping to wake up to.
“She started crying,” Lucero said. “I’m upset. It’s frustrating.”
She and her girlfriend spent the morning running their sump pump, and sweeping and bucketing water away from their house.
The entire property surrounding their home off of Business Highway 50 and 36th Lane in the Vineland area of Pueblo County looked more like a lake Tuesday.
“This is a good few inches here,” she said.”
So does the whole neighborhood.
“We had to go ahead and close Vineland Elementary and Vineland Middle School,” Pueblo County School District 70 Spokesperson Todd Seip said.
Floodwaters from Monday night’s rain made the two schools inaccessible.
Now, the neighborhood is cleaning up… again.
“Every time it rains a lot. Every time we get about an inch of rain, this happens,” Lucero said.
Flooding is an all too common occurrence.
“In 2019, four or five times,” she said. “And now this year.”
“It’s been an ongoing issue for many, many years,” Seip said.
And they think they know why.
“The infrastructure out here is inadequate,” Lucero said.
Drainage ditches alongside business 50 and nearby county-maintained roads can’t handle the water all at once.
“All of these fields in this area all flows back to this one 12 inch culvert right here that just backs up when it rains,” Seip said.
Neighbors say they’ve asked leaders numerous times to clean the ditches.
“We’ve called CDOT, there’s been no results,” Lucero said.
But CDOT says they have had crews cleaning the ditches consistently over the past month and a half. A CDOT spokesperson told News5 it had crews clearing drainage ditches in the area of Business Highway 50 and 36th Lane during the periods between April 14-17, April 21-27 and May 3-6.
Beyond that, they say there’s only so much they can do.
”The issue isn’t the roadway, but the flatness of the topography in the area,” CDOT spokesperson Michelle Peulen said. “When Pueblo sees heavy rain, the water, not only from the state roadway but also county roads and fields in the area has nowhere to go.”
But ask these stakeholders, they’re tired of mopping up mud.
“We want to see an adequate drainage system installed for this area,” Lucero said.
“Our hope is that the county and the state will somehow work together to fix that culvert,” Seip said.