Flood mitgation closures on Highway 24

Highway 24 Construction Project

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - If you're traveling on Highway 24, you will want to give yourself some extra time for the next few weeks.

It was once a sight of raging flood waters that trapped drivers and carried cars, but now it's a construction zone.

The eastbound lane, west of Manitou Springs is closed for flood mitigation.That means all traffic is being shifted to the westbound lanes. CDOT expects that to last about two weeks.

Then work will switch to Westbound Highway 24. Traffic will flow through the eastbound lanes. 

It's all in the hopes that those floods will stay a thing of the past.

"We're the first gas station coming in to Teller County and the last one going out. It gets so busy sometimes it's ridiculous," said Davlin Valentine, a clerk at Western Convenience gas station.

It's a popular spot along Highway 24. It also served as a hotel for trapped drivers during last summer's floods.

"There were people sleeping in the parking lot, they would come in here and ask if they could stay in the parking lot. I'd say okay of course. I felt bad for them they couldn't even get home," said Valentine.

Where flood waters once rushed by, now you will find signs, construction and traffic.

CDOT crews are installing a new concrete box culvert that's 10 times bigger than the one there now. This is so water flows under the road instead of over it. 

"Well it's going to slow people down, yes. But adapt and overcome," said a driver at the gas station.

"I'm sure it's going to use more gas sitting and waiting and going slow so people are going to have to allow themselves more time and fuel as well," said Robert Vantassel, another driver who frequently uses the highway.

Despite the headache drivers we spoke to say they're hopeful that the sight of the floods will be one they never see again.

"Hopefully it's going to save lives," said another driver.

"I mean people died in that flood so I think it's a good thing. Trying to protect people and trying to protect the land," said Valentine.

"It's just one of those things you're going to have to deal with really. Just plan a little extra time, a little extra money and maybe a snack," said Vantassel.

During construction a 35 mile per hour speed limit will be in effect. Vehicles wider than 12 feet will not be allowed to travel through the work zone. 

CDOT said the entire project should be completed in April.

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