The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will be installing rain monitoring equipment in Williams Canyon tomorrow and Thursday, requiring several minor traffic stops each day.
A helicopter is required to install the equipment, necessitating quick over-flights of U.S. 24 at the west end of Manitou Springs. Five trips in and out of the canyon are expected each of the following days, about every 10 minutes:
· Tuesday, July 15, from 9:30 a.m. to noon
· Thursday, July 17 from 9:30 a.m. to noon
The helicopter will be stationed on the southeast corner of the Highway 24/Serpentine Drive/Cave of the Winds Road intersection, and that traffic signal will be manually operated, stopping traffic for about 30 seconds each time the copter is taking off or landing, allowing it to safely cross the highway without flying over vehicles.
Installing the video monitoring equipment will provide:
· A real time video feed camera, providing CDOT and USGS with the ability to see if a rain event is producing debris flow or just water
· A non-contact stage gauge, measuring the depth of flow in Williams Canyon with radar
· An additional rain gauge, bolstering CDOT/USGS’s network of rain gauges in the canyon burn scar area
CDOT installed similar equipment in Waldo Canyon in November 2013.