After the rain: Residents remain resilient in Coal Creek
The worst may be over as the state begins to dry out and warm up. But while the calming weather brings relief to the state, many Colorado residents — including those in Coal Creek Canyon — face the aftermath of a devastating rainfall that severed homes from driveways and left Highway 72's asphalt looking like an incomplete jigsaw puzzle.
Jeffco Sheriff's Office posted flood updates Sept. 17 on its Facebook page, assessing county damage at about $6 million.
Approximate structural damages include 14 residences destroyed, 215 damaged and 5,805 threatened. Around 24 commercial properties have been damaged, with 24 threatened. Numbers are higher for minor structural damage.
The Colorado Department of Transportation was up in the canyon on Sept. 17, fixing a culvert break which caused severe flooding on one area of Highway 72 making the road impassable.
Efforts continue to rescue residents from Coal Creek Canyon, especially after exposed gas lines were discovered. Most residents have been without running water and electricity for days. So far, rescue teams have saved three families from Coal Creek.
“I think we'll see more and more of that in the days to come,” Mark Techmeyer, public information officer for the Jeffco Sheriff's Office said, adding that some families have chosen to stay behind.
Highway 72 remains closed from Blue Mountain Drive to Pinecliffe.
CDOT crews have begun to clear debris, as CDOT officials are in the process of obtaining contracts for three response teams to help construct roads for Highway 72 and others like U.S. 36 and U.S. 34. Teams will be selected by Sept. 20 with work expected to begin by next week, according to Amy Ford, communications director at CDOT.
Gas has been shut off in the canyon, and Xcel Energy does not have a timeline on when restoration work of those lines will begin, Gabriel Romero, spokesman for Xcel Energy said. Assessment will begin on Sept. 18, but repairs may not start for several weeks.
Several parks and trails throughout Jeffco Open Space were affected by floods, closing Apex Park and Lair o' the Bear Park. The east trailhead at White Ranch Park is closed, as well as Sourdough Campground and portions of Rawhide, Belcher Hill, Longhorn and Mustang trails.
At North Table Mountain Park, the Mesa Top Trail is closed from the east junction of the Rim Rock Trail to the North Table Mountain Loop, and from there, the north loop is closed from Tilting Mesa Trail to Cottonwood Canyon Trail.
Staff members from Jeffco Open Space will continue to assess the damage, and determine the best strategy to repair the parks and trails with restoration continuing into spring 2014. Volunteers interested in helping to rebuilding can go to jeffco.us/parks/volunteer/trail-building/.