MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado's Department of Transportation said Monday it will ask for emergency funding to tackle flash flood problems along Highway 24 near Manitou Springs.
Friday's flash flood destroyed cars and claimed one life along the vulnerable stretch of Highway 24, which has turned into a flash flood hotspot during heavy rain.
"That kind of got our attention," said Rich Gonser, the project engineer for a flood project underway further west on Ute Pass.
The project is targeting five areas along Highway 24 to help divert water away from the road. The locations were selected after flash floods last summer. Crews installed boulders along the vulnerable hillsides to keep the ground from washing out. Crews will build stilling basins to sift mud and debris from flood water before it's directed in a ditch along Highway 24.
Gonser said the project is behind schedule due to recent rains.
"You'll get something done and then you have to come back and re-do it and kind of start all over again," said Gonser.
C-DOT wants to use emergency funding to expand the flood project.
"We have been discussing it here the last couple of rains, thinking we maybe need to do something more down there to get the water across the road," said Gonser. "We've tried a couple of things and it just wasn't quite enough."
Gonser said one possibility engineers will consider is installing a bigger cement culvert to divert flash flood water underneath Highway 24 near Manitou. C-DOT spokesperson Bob Wilson said the department is in the early stages of these discussions and engineers haven't determined a plan for the area yet.
C-DOT will ask the state's transportation commission for the emergency funding.
"If we get some emergency funding we can get a project in the works a lot quicker that way," said Gonser.
C-DOT did not have an estimate on the amount of emergency funding it will ask from the commission. The project already underway further west on Ute Pass costs $2.1 million.
Gonser said the project won't be completed before the next heavy rain. He hopes to see the project completed before the end of the season if C-DOT is granted emergency funding.