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El Paso County to start repairs to help with flooding in Black Forest

El Paso County to start repairs to help with flooding

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - El Paso County announced Tuesday it will start work on a culvert that made Shoup Road prone to flash flooding after the Black Forest Fire.

El Paso County will start construction Tuesday on the Shoup Road culvert replacement between Tia Lane and Glenridge Lane Tuesday.

El Paso County engineer André Brackin originally estimated that 38 miles of drainage in the Kettle Creek watershed would need to be fixed after the Black Forest Fire to account for debris carried off the burn scar during heavy rain.

However, workers have spent months cleaning up culverts and drainage areas in the watershed.  Now, Brackin said miles of drainage are sufficient for the upcoming flood season.

Flood water tore through Mich Turner's property last summer after the wildfire. He wiped out his garden and took down his fences. He kept sandbags up this year in case El Paso County didn't complete its project on Shoup Road because heavy rains hit again.

His property and pocketbook have paid the price for flood repairs.

"It just keeps going and now at the back of the property there is a big gully washed out and it's taken out 50 feet of fence and it keeps coming this way so it keeps getting worse and worse," said Turner.

The project will cost $515,000. The new design will replace the single culvert with five culverts next to each other to accommodate heavy debris flow.

Brackin and his team wanted to get started with the project last fall. However, it was a complicated process to acquire funding for the project.

"It became a very complex picture last year of all the various entities in Colorado experiencing these disasters competing for that money and the state had to prioritize and fit the emergency money to the disasters on a prioritize basis," said Brackin.

Last August, a culvert under Casey Lane collapsed in a flash flood. It took out the culvert and left a massive hole in the road.  Brackin said a similar situation could play out on Shoup Road, which is why this project has been a top priority.

The county also has its eye on a massive culvert under Black Forest Road that has failed. It said a heavy rain could take out that culvert and the road with the county. It plans to start that project this winter.

Major improvements to the Shoup Road project are expected to be complete by July 4.

Drivers should anticipate Shoup Road be closed between Milam Road and Holmes Road from June 2 to June 5.  A detour along Burgess Road will be established during that closure. El Paso County said those dates are subject to weather and resource availability.

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