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WAAP project, old bridge survive historic storm flood event' July 23

July 30, 2018; updated Aug. 2
       The "historic storm flood event" in the early evening of July 23 appears to have caused no serious damage to the in-progress, $35.5 million Westside Avenue Action Plan (WAAP) project, a July 30 press release states.
       The good news includes a “structurally stable” finding for the 1934 Colorado Avenue traffic bridge, conducted by engineers for WAAP
A photo taken six days after the "historic storm event" looks east toward the under-construction Adams Crossing Bridge July 30. It shows Fountain Creek contained again in a temporary channel, but also some lingering signs of the short but drenching rain.
Westside Pioneer photo
contractor Wildcat Construction, the release adds.
       Spanning Fountain Creek at Columbia Road, the bridge was closed in both directions for a day after the rainstorm to allow an inspection. Other elements of the avenue project have also been scrutinized.
       The old bridge is scheduled for replacement in September by the new Adams Crossing Bridge, which Wildcat crews have been building for nearly a year.
       However, the report continues, “water flows in Fountain Creek have not receded enough to allow for a full inspection of all retaining walls and bridge conditions. Inspections have been performed on the areas which currently can be reached and found to be undamaged with no negative impacts evident at this time. Wildcat and its structural engineer will continue to monitor the conditions until traffic is switched to the new bridge.”
       The press release describes the July 23 downpour as an “extremely high intensity storm over a very short duration,” which resulted in the “fourth largest peak flow recorded” for Fountain Creek: “The last time there was a higher peak flow was in 1997.”
       Rebuilding the avenue for about 1 1/2 miles west of 31st Street, WAAP started in late 2016 and is slated for "substantial completion" by the end of this year,
The photo above, a screen capture from a video shot by El Paso County, shows Fountain Creek continuing to overflow its temporary channel near the bridge construction at Columbia Road the day after the July 23 "storm flood event."
Courtesy of El Paso County
according to El Paso County, which is leading the project in conjunction with Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs. Most of the funding is from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority sales tax.
       Going forward, a key element of WAAP is the installation of underground drainage systems. “The area inundated in the flood event is a low-lying area having experienced flooding in the past,” the press release points out. “There has not been an adequate system to convey the runoff, which is one of the reasons this project is so important."
       The release elaborates that “once this project is complete, there will be a storm drain system to reduce street flooding, help protect properties and help to safely convey runoff out of the area; however, no system can mitigate historic flooding conditions such as what we experienced this past week.”
       The press release concludes with the statement that “with more rainy weather predicted, please know that crews from all jurisdictions and from the contractor will continue to work with property owners to do everything they can to get this project and others in the immediate area completed in a manner that minimizes impacts to businesses and respond quickly to impacts that do arise.”

Westside Pioneer/press release
(Projects: Westside Avenue Action Plan)

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