Ute Pass flood-related 'closure protocol' to continue through Sept. 30The state's “closure protocol” for Highway 24 through Ute Pass will remain in place through Sept. 30, but could be relaxed next year, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)
The current protocol requires closing the Pass “whenever the National Weather Service issues a flash flood warning for the Waldo Canyon burn-scar area or the rain gauges installed at key locations indicate at [least] one-quarter inch of rain,” a press release states.
“Following the flood season, CDOT will again meet with local, state and federal agencies and officials, impacted communities and others to assess the current process and determine if changes need to be made regarding protocols,” the release continues. “Since a number of improvements will have been completed, it may allow a reduction in the number of closures needed."
As part of that effort, CDOT has developed online capabilities - in addition to the highway's existing electronic signboards - to keep drivers informed when Ute Pass flooding is possible. These are an e-mail/text alert system and a Highway 24 website “that includes Frequently Asked Questions about the Ute Pass corridor,” the release states. Info about the alert system is at coloradodot.info; the Ute Pass website is coloradodot.info/projects/us24utepass.
The release also notes that CDOT has closed the highway in the Ute Pass area nine times since May. “The highway was closed 17 times in 2013, including three flood events, the worst of which was on August 9, when, in addition to flooding, mud and debris covered the highway, and one fatality was recorded.”
Westside Pioneer/press release