Emergency fixes under way on Douglas Creek drainage

       Work has started on “emergency repairs” to the concrete-lined Douglas Creek drainage between Centennial Boulevard and Arrowswest Drive.

ABOVE: A crew from Frazee Construction works on the highest priority area for emergency repairs in the Douglas Creek drainage channel this week.
BELOW: A photo from 2007 shows the broken channel in that location. The Intel complex (red trim) is in the background. Note: The channel footbridge from which the photo above was shot can also be seen in the background.
Westside Pioneer photos


       “Everything is going as planned,” said Tom Repp, a civil engineer with the Colorado Springs Stormwater Enterprise. “This is an intermediate step to keep the channel safe… Rebar is sticking out in places, it's gnarly looking and very unstable.”
       The completion goal is mid-February.
       Simultaneously, Stormwater Enterprise is studying long-range channel improvements, which may or may not keep the concrete. When the city has proposals ready, public meetings will be held to take ideas, according to Stormwater Enterprise. About $3.8 million is set aside for the eventual work.
       Along the roughly half-mile stretch are mostly industrial complexes, with townhomes appearing just west of Centennial and continuing west along the creek into the Holland Park neighborhood.
       The $250,000 emergency project is focusing on three main areas where the concrete has fallen apart in the roughly 35 years since the ditch was built, according to Repp.
       The first area, considered the most serious, has been under construction since contractor Frazee Construction started in the first week of January. The work is focused around a short, angled “drop” in the channel about an eighth of a mile east of Arrowswest, near the Intel complex that faces onto Garden of the Gods Road. Repp said the large concrete plates at the drop broke in part because of groundwater undercutting the ditch. So the repairs will include an underground “cutoff wall,” which will be perpendicular to the channel and impede the groundwater flow in that location, he said.
       The second work location will be another channel drop about 600 feet downstream, where “water had gotten behind the slope pavement and actually took away a lot of sediment,” Repp described.
       The purpose of the drops is slow the current in the channel, which during storms can roil along at speeds up to 25 ft per second, he said.
       The third location is upstream of the first, near Arrowswest.
       The city subcontractor on the engineering design work for the repairs is Stantech Consulting Inc.
       As a side note, because of the flooding potential, Repp stressed that the drainage ditch is not a safe place for children to play. Storms can come up fast, and “it's hard to get out.”

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