EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - Late Thursday afternoon, El Paso County reopened a dozen roads partially or completely closed by flooding from several days of heavy rain.
However, repairs will continue on some of those roads, said Max Kirschbaum, operations manager for the county's Public Services Department.
"The area is low and flat," he said. "When this rushing water comes through, it does one of two things. It either creates ponds or it damages roadways as it pushes through."
Kirschbaum said such flooding is a typical seasonal occurrence and doesn't compare to record rainfall the area received last fall.
"But we've unofficially had 9 inches in just a few days," he said. "There aren't many culverts out here. The culverts we have are in the right places. Some of them may be undersized. But it's hard to build to the absolute worst-case scenario."
A section of Sanborn Road washed out three times this week, Kirschbaum said.
Kirschbaum said he has 125 workers dedicated to repairing flood damage. Workers use heavy equipment to smooth rough spots and apply recycled asphalt to keep low-lying roads above flood levels.
Workers also made a temporary road around a section of Handle Road that still is under several feet of water near the Grand View Mobile Home Park.
Damage to private property is visible with severe erosion along fence lines and road shoulders.
Randy Rico has lived in the area nearly 20 years. He said Thursday was the first day since the flood that he was able to drive out of his neighborhood.
"I had a 9-mile detour," he said. "This (flood) probably was the worst I can remember out here."
Farther east in the county in the Calhan area, damaged roads stopped mail delivery to 75 people. They can get their mail at the Calhan Post Office.
The county released further details about affected roads:
Repair status from previous storms:
1. Milne, just south of Myers. Complete; reopened.
2. Myers, just west of Squirrel Creek. Complete; reopened.
3. Handle, east of Baggett. Standing water remains 3-4 feet over road west of trailer park; created temporary path through standing water east of the trailer park. Residents can now enter/exit to Calhan Hwy S. Will continue to monitor through the next several days.
4. Myers, east of Lauppe. Shoulder washed out, culvert damaged; barricades in place, remains open to two-way traffic, repair in progress.
5. Sanborn Road east of Ellicott Road complete; reopened.
6. Baggett Road, 1/2 mile north of Sanborn Road. Complete; reopened.
7. Handle Road between Ellicott Road and Baggett Road. Complete; reopened.
8. Truckton Road between Johnson Road and county line. Complete; reopened.
9. Sanborn at the intersection of Baggett. Complete; reopened.
10. Franceville Coal Mine. Complete (temporary repair); reopened.
11. Chipita Park Road, near Ute Pass Elementary School. Complete; reopened.
12. Squirrel Creek Road, south of Myers (historic road portion). Major damage; need to determine a solution.
Some of these may require additional work that does not affect traffic. Also need to catch up on grading work in many locations with minor damage.