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Rainfall causes damage to Pueblo West roads

Emily Somerville, from Amarillo Texas, on vacation in Colorado, uses an umbrella as she fishes in San Isabel Lake on a rainy Wednesday afternoon on August 14, 2013. (John Jaques, The Pueblo Chieftain)
Emily Somerville, from Amarillo Texas, on vacation in Colorado, uses an umbrella as she fishes in San Isabel Lake on a rainy Wednesday afternoon on August 14, 2013. (John Jaques, The Pueblo Chieftain)

Major rainfall in recent weeks in Pueblo West has certainly helped turn things green, but has caused a variety of headaches and problems for community members, Pueblo West Metropolitan District staff and other employees.

Dan Centa, director of Public Works in Pueblo West, said he and his staff are still receiving multiple calls a day since the heavy rainstorm hit Aug. 3.

The water caused “significant damage” in portions of Pueblo West that crews are working to fix and clean up.

“The majority of damage was in the northeast corner of Pueblo West,” Centa said.

“We had a couple of events that took place, because this was an ‘every few years’ type of rain. First, we had that significant rain that day which impacted our community.”

Then, Centa said, after rains and flooding water had begun to recede, the impacts from a very heavy rainfall in Fountain (reports were as much as five inches that day) made their way to Pueblo West.

“We had to close quite a few roads in the northeast quadrant,” Centa said.

“Purcell, particularly, which had huge impacts because it’s a key connection to I-25, and a few other major collectors on the north side had to be closed to allow the water across.”

The Pueblo West Fire Department assisted in many road closures and in keeping an eye on area roads through the major storm.

A crew was called to one rescue situation after a car was stuck in a large area of water near the intersection of Jesse James and Platteville.

“Around 10 p.m. we got a call for a vehicle at the intersection, just past Platteville, where it was turned sideways in the water and the people couldn’t get out of the vehicle,” said Brad Davidson, Division Chief for the fire department.

“We got them out and no one was injured.

“But the water when I got there shortly after the call was probably knee-high – and I’m 6-foot-4!

“It was flowing straight across the road.

“We try to stress to people that it only takes about two inches of water where you can loose control – your tires separate from the road and then things can be bad.”

The large amounts of water caused damage to roadway surfaces, washed portions of the road and landscaping away, clogged ditches and culverts and more.

“At some major crossings, we actually had asphalt peeling away,” Centa said.

“Our crews are working on repairing that, bringing in gravel, patching roadways and doing as much damage repair as they can.”

Centa noted that all of Pueblo West Public Works employees have been pulled off other jobs and are concentrated on fixing water-related issues right now, but because there are limited people and resources, it’s taking some time.

“We’re attempting to correct the damage that we have with limited resources, but please be patient,” he asked.

Centa noted that some of the problems in neighborhoods occurred because drainage hasn’t always been constructed properly.

He said the minimum size for a culvert that runs underneath a driveway is 18-inches, yet many properties in Pueblo West have smaller culverts.

Likewise, the other way to address drainage is a dip in the driveway concrete, but Centa said driveways have been installed at an incorrect elevation, which ends up causing small dammed areas.

“In a number of areas, because the water did not have the capacity to go as it should, it flowed either through the yards and up toward people’s houses or into the roadways. Then tremendous amounts of roadway materials were washed away.”

And while the rainfall is much appreciated by the vegetation in the community Parks and Recreation Director Carol Cosby said the large rainfall amounts have caused grass and weeds surrounding local trails to grow quite quickly.

“We’re mowing next to the trails to cut down the weeds, but we’re having a hard time keeping up because of all the rains and it growing so fast,” she said.

“People just need to be patient with us with all the rain.”

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