Fountain Creek: High water is delaying assessment and mitigation in Pueblo

Fountain Creek Watershed
Fountain Creek Watershed

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

A project classified as an emergency will take more time to complete.

There’s no clear timetable for fortifying the Fountain Creek embankment at the 13th Street interchange of Interstate 25, where the river is continuing to cut at the ground under a Union Pacific Railroad track.

“We’re still waiting for the water to go down,” said Corinne O’Hara, project manager of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “The flow had been diverted to a diversion ditch to reduce the attack of the water on the slope.”

But the Corps won’t know how successful that move was until Fountain Creek settles down, which could be months from now. The creek has been running above average for more than a month, and more than 2,000 cubic feet per second — normal is 50-100 cfs — for the past week after briefly topping 10,000 cfs on May 19. It dropped to about 1,750 cfs Thursday.

The Corps checked it at the high point, O’Hara said.

“It was in no worse shape than before the work started, but we haven’t been back to look at the damages since the last rains,” she said.

The Corps began emergency repairs after a flood in September 2013 washed out a rock gabion that was installed in 2009. However, the work did not begin until this April. While a channel to divert the flow had been cut, the berm that contained the flows broke last week. That sent the main flow of Fountain Creek back toward the rails.

As of Thursday, some water was flowing down the channel that was cut for the construction project, but the greater flow seemed to be toward the railroad tracks on the west side of the channel.

Meanwhile, all of the large trees have collapsed in that part of the channel, and some are stacked up against the Eighth Street bridge.

There appears to be no damage to any local bridges across Fountain Creek, said Jeff Bailey, Pueblo stormwater supervisor.

More Fountain Creek watershed coverage here.

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