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Black Forest infrastructure still needs work, even though it held up in heavy rain

Black Forest infrastructure still needs work, even though it held up in heavy rain

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - Drains, bridges and culverts withstood last week's heavy rain in Black Forest, but it doesn't change the fact that many of them still need work said an El Paso County engineer Wednesday.

El Paso County engineers worried they'd have they work cut out for them in Black Forest after the latest storms. This time, Black Forest wasn't hit hard.

There are a number of areas that need to be fixed so they'll hold up in future storms. As many as 200 bridges and culverts and 38 miles of drains may need to be repaired.

They've been top of mind since the Black Forest Fire. June's wildfire burned in the Kettle Creek watershed. Many culverts and bridges in the area weren't built to handle flash flooding in the fire's wake. Casey Lane's culvert collapsed in a flash flood Aug. 4. It took out the culvert and left a massive hole in the road.

Shoup road's culvert needs to be upsized because during heavy rains water washes over the road. Brackin said it's a matter of time before the road and culvert washes out with the rain.

It rained 5 inches in some areas of Black Forest from Wednesday and Monday. El Paso County Engineer André Brackin said it was a recipe for disaster.

"We were very concerned about what the storm was doing to Black Forest," said Brackin.

The rain came, but everything stayed in place.

"We were very happy when we found out basically we had not lost that much on our projects as there were no new problems," said Brackin.

They held up this time, but it doesn't change the fact that many of these bridges, culverts and drains still need work.

"With the kind of intensity that is a potential for storms around here, you could have that failure still occur," said Brackin.

The county wanted to start repair work on Shoup Road's culvert this month. Brackin said the start date has been pushed back to later this fall because of the complexity of the project.

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