LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Colorado Department of Transportation is spending millions of dollars to protect Highway 14 from mudslides.
The Poudre Canyon has seen several slides since the High Park fire last summer and the highway has had to be shut down.
“We did have a couple of experiences already this year with the severe weather where we’ve had instances where we’ve had to shut down the highway,” Amy Ford with CDOT said.
Behind nearly every rainfall in the Poudre Canyon is the threat of flash flooding.
“What you see is that coming down in a wash, and given the size of those culverts they simply clog up with that debris, and we see the flash flooding on the highway,” Ford said.
Mudslides, rock fall and washouts have plagued the Poudre Canyon after the High Park fire burned 87,000 acres and destroyed 259 homes.
CDOT has earmarked $2.3 million to replace six undersized culverts along Highway 14 from Ted’s Place through the canyon to better control flood flow through the canyon.
A burned area response team made up of members of the U.S. Forest Service, Larimer County and CDOT is expected to repair the ravaged area as soon as next week through the end of the year and will continue to recover the burn scar for years to come.
“We’re really looking at giving culverts that are a little bit bigger, that are a little bit able to handle some of that debris that comes down in severe weather; and have different drainage systems to really better able the clearance, which for us makes the roadways safer,” Ford said.