The Colorado Department of Transportation has developed new methods to help ensure the public is informed about road conditions and protocols for U.S. 24 on Ute Pass — primarily when flooding is possible but also when there are other impacts to travel.
In addition to notifications via electronic sign boards, CDOT is implementing the following:
The closure protocol CDOT has implemented for Highway 24 will remain through Sept. 30, requiring a closure of the highway whenever the National Weather Service issues a Flash Flood Warning for the Waldo Canyon burn scar or the rain gauges installed at key locations electronically indicate a quarter-inch of rain.
Following the flood season, CDOT will again meet with local, state and federal agencies and officials, impacted communities and others to assess the current process and determine if changes need to be made regarding protocols. Since a number of improvements will have been completed, it may allow a reduction in the number of closures.
“Closing Highway 24 is not something we do impulsively. There are specific criteria we need to meet to require a closure to ensure the safety of the traveling public,” said CDOT Regional Transportation Director Karen Rowe. “By implementing these additional tools, our goal is to make sure that the people who drive the corridor are able to receive the most up-to-date information for their travel plans and to know what we’re doing on the U.S. 24–Ute Pass corridor.”
CDOT has closed the highway in the Ute Pass area nine times since May 2014. The highway was closed 17 times in 2013, including three floods, the worst of which was on Aug. 9, when, in addition to flooding, mud and debris covered the highway and one fatality was recorded.
For information regarding CDOT projects statewide, log on to www.cotrip.org, download the CDOT Mobile app or call 511 from anywhere in the state. To receive real-time updates about road conditions in your area, visit www.coloradodot.info and click on the green cell phone icon in the upper right hand corner of the page. Information about weekly lane closures will be available at www.coloradodot.info/travel/scheduled-lane-closures.html.