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County engineer warns some culverts in critical condition because of floods

County engineer warns some culverts in critical condition be

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - El Paso County's engineer warned Tuesday that several dozen culverts in Black Forest could be swept away during the next heavy rain.

The 30 vulnerable culverts run along major roadways in Black Forest.

Heavy rain in Black Forest last weekend already took out one culvert and left a massive hole in Casey Lane. El Paso County Engineer Andre Brackin said the incident didn't come as a shock.

"With the fire, and the changed conditions of the soil, you're going to have a lot faster run off, (and) greater impacts dow stream," said Brackin. "All these culverts are recipients of that."

Brackin said many culverts are already vulnerable from years of erosion and damage.

"Even culverts that are in good condition and the installations are done the right way, even those have potential for washing out in big rains," said Brackin.

He's most concerned about culverts in the Kettle Creek Basin. It's the area south of Vessey Road, West of Black Forest Road, North of Burgess Road and East of Highway 83. Of those culverts, the ones at the highest risk are along Black Forest Road north of Shoup Road.

Small culverts have contributed to flooding problems along Shoup Road. The area has flooded several times during the past month during heavy rain. Floodwater carrying mud and debris clogs small culverts and forces water over the top of Shoup Road.

Brackin said the county wants to replace Shoup Road's small culverts with larger ones to help debris flow. If not, Brackin said water will continue over the top of the road and it could take the road out with it.

The life span of a culvert is 50 years. The county wants to replace vulnerable metal culverts with sturdier cement culverts. It would cut back on erosion.

Replacing culverts isn't cheap. The damaged culvert coupled with road repairs to Casey Lane will cost an estimated $500,000 to fix.

"Anytime you're spending money it's expensive, in our opinion," said Brackin.

Brackin presented a report on culverts' conditions in Black Forest to El Paso County Commissioners Tuesday morning. The report included estimated costs for repairing or replacing culverts in critical condition.

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