Construction begins on replacement of Kettle Creek culverts under Black Forest Road

Since October Black Forest Road has been closed between Swan and Shoup Road after flash floods took a major toll on the storm water culverts./ Mike Duran -- FOX21 News
In this photo taken in March, workers replace culverts under Black Forest Road at Kettle Creek. / Mike Duran -- FOX21 News

BLACK FOREST, Colo. — For six months now, residents in Black Forest have had to take the long way home thanks to erosion issues that forced the partial closure of Black Forest Road. Now the county is working to get that road reopened by replacing culverts at Kettle Creek.

Since October, Black Forest Road has been closed between Swan and Shoup roads after flash floods took a major toll on the stormwater culverts. Since then, as many as 6,000 cars a day have to take a three-mile detour.

“The culverts have basically collapsed and the road is basically washing away with additional water flowing through these culverts,” Larry Tobias, a member of the El Paso County Highway Advisory Committee, said.

“At one point you had a one to one slope that became a vertical drop almost overnight,” said Andre Brackin, El Paso County Engineer.

This is what prompted the closure of the road.

“We knew that one more storm not only could take out the road, but if you had a driver at night not seeing what was going on, because when you would drive through here you could not see that,” Brackin said.

The county said what they’ve learned from the 40-year-old failing culverts is that it’s time to go with a different material.

“Part of our criteria now is to require concrete for large culverts for big roadways and drainage ways like this one.” said Brackin.

Officials said the Black Forest fire is to blame for how fast the road deteriorated.

“The rate of erosion in just one season was faster than the last 20 years combined,” Brackin said.

The whole project is expected to cost about $1.2 million. Funding is coming from a federal grant which will cover more than 80 percent of the total while PPRTA maintenance funds will cover the rest.

County officials say the project should be finished, weather permitting, by July 1.

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