MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (AP/CBS4) – To protect drivers from flash floods, the Colorado Department of Transportation says maintenance crews will conduct round-the-clock patrols of U.S. 24 in the Waldo Canyon Fire burn area between Manitou Springs and Cascade through Oct. 1.
CDOT says the stretch will close when the National Weather Service issues a flash flood warning, or if more than a quarter-inch of rain falls in the burn area. Electronic signs will tell drivers of conditions.
U.S. 24 averages 25,000 vehicles per day between west Manitou Springs and Cascade.
The changes that were announced Thursday come after a mudslide on U.S. 24 last week killed a man who was found buried in debris outside his vehicle.
The heavy rain and flooding last week also damaged vehicles, homes and businesses. Gov. John Hickenlooper toured the flood zone Thursday and said governmental officials are looking at getting aid to the region to help it rebuild.
“Words can’t express what a situation like this where someone’s lost their life, losing 50 homes; in the end it’s, and I don’t want to diminish someone who’s lost a home, but not the same as losing a life,” Hickenlooper said.
Burned soils are less able to absorb heavy rains, leading to flooding and mudslides.
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