IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) — Two creek-side Colorado municipalities are keeping an eye on water levels as temperatures rise and eventual springtime rainstorms loom. Both towns have experienced flooding in the past and have reason this year to be watchful.

“We’re are concerned,” said Idaho Springs City Administrator Andrew Marsh. “It’s on our radar.”

Several of his city’s road projects could be interrupted by severe weather, Marsh said. But there is a bright side to the situation, too.

“We have plenty of heavy equipment and expertise in town,” Marsh said. “We’ve already talked with our contractors. If there is any gully-washing, we have the ability to quickly respond to that.”

Ice buildup on Clear Creek in a 2013 file photo. (credit: CBS)

Thirteen miles upstream, Georgetown Town Administrator Kent Brown’s facilities include stacks of sandbags waiting to staunch the Clear Creek tide.

But equally concerning this year is the possible avalanche debris coming Georgetown’s way, Brown said.

Snow, busted trees, and rocks – some of it 15 feet deep – stretched across all lanes of I-70 after CDOT crews deliberately triggered a slide in the first week of March on Herman Gulch, eight miles west of town. The annually troublesome section of hillside posed even greater risk this year due to the heavy late-winter snows.

At least some amount of that debris carried downhill by the snow will be carried downstream by the runoff, Brown said.

“And it will get here.”

Marsh isn’t convinced much of the avalanche debris will reach Idaho Springs. But his city’s heavy equipment is ready to keep whatever debris arrives from clogging culverts and bridge abutments.

“We hope for a slow thaw out,” he said, “but (flooding) is something we’re very much aware of. We certainly need the precipitation and the water.”

 

Logan Smith

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