Commissioners Approve Emergency Measures to Mitigate Flood Dangers to Public Property
The Board of El Paso County Commissioners today approved an emergency funding request from the Public Services Department for the purchase and installation of “TrapBag” barriers to direct flood flows coming off the Waldo Canyon burn scar away from a public school and critical county infrastructure in the Ute Pass area. During recent rainstorms mudslides resulting from the burn scar have forced the closure of U.S. Highway 24 in the area immediately above Ute Pass Elementary School. Mud and large pieces of debris have clogged storm drains running under the highway sending rushing water and mud directly toward the school and Chipita Park Road which provides critical public safety access for the Ute Pass area.
Manitou Springs School District 14 Superintendent Ed Longfield praised the collaboration between the County and the school district noting, “This cooperation will help keep the school safe and kids protected. We want the school to be as close to normal as possible for the kids when they return. They’ve seen a lot of destruction this summer with the fire and having the school back to normal will helpful in bringing things back to how they should be for the kids.”
Commissioner Sallie Clark, who represents the Ute Pass area, has met with many of the residents in the area who have expressed their concerns about the need to protect the school and transportation corridor. “We’ve seen that even a small rainstorm in the burn area above Ute Pass is likely to cause big problems for the residents and business below. For the safety of the kids and everyone in the Ute Pass area it’s important to do what we can with these temporary barriers to protect both the school and Chipita Park Road.”
The Board of County Commissioners approved emergency funding not to exceed thirty-eight thousand dollars for purchase and installation of approximately 700 feet of the TrapBag barriers. “These barriers have been extensively tested and have worked well in floods throughout the Midwest,” said Public Services Operations Manager Max Kirschbaum. Kirschbaum expects the rapidly deployable cellular barriers to be shipped and installed by the end of next week.