Initial flood damage at $10m, city officials say

Recent flooding in Colorado Springs will cost about $10 million in repairs to public infrastructure, according to Bret Waters, the city’s emergency management division director.

“It’s conservative,” Waters said at Mayor Steve Bach’s monthly press conference. “Today’s the first sunny day, so we’re out still looking for damage. It’ll be higher.”

Gold Camp Road is washed out between the first and second tunnels, and Cheyenne Mountain Road remains closed because of damage from flooding along the creek.

Homes around the city are pumping out basements, he said.

“Hundreds of homes have some water damage from flooded basements,” Waters said. “But we’re looking for clear water damage on the first floors – that will be a lower number.”

Waters refused to speculate about the number of homes damaged by days of rain, saying only that the city was still conducting its initial examination.

“We were lucky,” he said. “We didn’t get as much rain as they did in Northern Colorado, and the rain that fell, fell in the city. If we’d had more rain on the burn scar (from the Waldo Canyon fire), it would have been a different story. But we still have a lot of assessments to do – the entire city had some flooding. It was widespread.”

Recent improvements to Camp Creek and Douglas Creek held, city officials said. But part of the clean-up will be removing debris and sediment from retention ponds and nets along the creek banks.

The city plans to set up a disaster center for the residents affected by the floods, in cooperation with El Paso County and the El Paso County Public Health Department.

“This is our fourth disaster assistance center in 16 months,” said Public Health Director Jill Law, who started the job a few days before the Waldo Canyon fire. I don’t like to say it, but we’re getting pretty good at this.”

Law said people should be careful when cleaning out flooded basements, making sure they wear protective clothing. Tetanus shots are available at the Public Health Department, located at the El Paso County Citizens Service Center.