This view typifies but doesn’t tell the entire story of damage in and near Manitou Springs along U.S. Highway 24 and its business route through the town, which the Colorado Department of Transportation hopes to reopen as soon as Thanksgiving.
This view is near Manitou Springs along U.S. Highway 24.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is updating its protocol on Ute Pass when flash flooding threatens U.S. 24 west of Colorado Springs.

Beginning today, Friday, May 1, when a flash flood warning is forecast by the National Weather Service, or when rainfall and ground saturation conditions warrant, CDOT maintenance crews will be dispatched to three locations along the corridor – at Cave of the Winds Road, at Cascade and in the Green Mountain Falls area. However, CDOT will not pre-emptively close the highway. Crews will remain in place, and if flooding or debris flow begins to impact the highway, it will immediately be closed to all traffic.

“We understood the pre-emptive closures were creating a hardship for residents and businesses alike to the west of Colorado Springs so we reviewed how best to still keep traffic moving without compromising public safety,” said CDOT Regional Transportation Director Karen Rowe. “We believe this new protocol is the best option for everybody who travels Highway 24.”

When a storm hits the area, a plow truck will continuously travel up and down the corridor to monitor conditions, ensuring water or debris flow is remaining off the roadway. If the highway needs to be closed, CDOT and the Colorado State Patrol will then sweep the corridor to ensure there are no individuals and/or vehicles remaining in the closure area.

Before the highway is reopened to traffic, CDOT will assess the condition of the roadway, making sure any storm-related debris has been removed and the highway is safe for travel.

This protocol will continue through Sept. 30, CDOT said.

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