The Roadway - July 2022

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JULY 2022

TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction • P.1 Message from the Director • P.2

KEEPING YOU INFORMED This month's issue features information on how to prepare for flash flooding, the El Paso County Road Safety Plan, and a look at some of the projects our teams are working on. We hope this newsletter helps you learn more about how we serve you, your neighborhood, and El Paso County.

How To Prepare For Flash Floods • P.4 Driving on Gravel Roads • P.7 El Paso County Road Safety Plan • P.8 Employee Spotlight • P.9 Featured Projects • P.10 Year-to-Date Stats • P.11


There could be a lot of reasons why the water flowing down the stream is not the color you think it should be. Perhaps there has been mud washing off a construction site, or some kind of spill has occurred and reached the stream through the stormwater system. Regardless, El Paso County’s Stormwater Management Program wants to know about it. BEHIND THE SCENES IS A DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS STORMWATER MANAGEMENT TEAM DEDICATED TO ENSURING EL PASO COUNTY REMAINS IN COMPLIANCE...HOWEVER, THEY CANNOT DO IT ALONE.

The Clean Water Act provides the framework for water quality regulation in the United States. In Colorado, the Water Quality Control Commission is the agency which has the authority to establish water quality standards consistent with the federal Clean Water Act.

Local Permit holders, like El Paso County, must comply with regulations in the form of Stormwater Permits. The stormwater systems that carry runoff away from roads, parking lots, and buildings through a series of pipes and detention basins before discharging into creeks is the system that is regulated through the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit process.

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Behind the scenes is a Department of Public Works Stormwater Management Team dedicated to ensuring El Paso County remains in compliance with its MS4 permit and, ultimately, the Clean Water Act. However, they cannot do it alone. Each of us can help this team by doing the following: Help keep pollution out of storm drains Report spills by calling 719.520.6460 Always put trash where it belongs Recycle appropriate items Fertilize caringly and sparingly Carefully store and dispose of household cleaners, chemicals, and oils Clean up after your pet Practice good car care Stay water efficient Volunteer - attend clean up events/adopt-aroadway Educate your family, friends, and neighbors about the role everyone plays in protecting our waterways Information for this message was gathered from the Colorado Stormwater Council. For more information, visit

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HOW TO PREPARE FOR FLASH FLOODS Historically, flash flooding is the deadliest and most damaging hazard in our region. This natural disaster continues to pose a high-priority threat to the region. Flooding can occur along a waterway in one drainage area or in larger watersheds. Flash floods can develop quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes and without any visible signs of rain. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water that carries rocks, mud, and other debris and can sweep away most things in its path. Flood preparedness and mitigation are essential to reduce or eliminate risks to persons or property or to minimize the effects or consequences of flooding. Implementing measures to mitigate flooding before, during, and after an incident will be crucial in reducing potential damage. Here are some tips to help you prepare before, during, and after a flood:

BEFORE A FLOOD Check the FEMA National Flood Insurance website ( to determine the risk of flooding. Elevate and reinforce your residence if you live or plan to build in a flood-prone area. Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel if your residence or business is susceptible to flooding.

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Install back-flow valves in piping to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your residence. Seal the walls in your basement with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage. Move to higher ground if there is any possibility of a flash flood.

DURING A FLOOD Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to suddenly flood. A “dry” creek bed will carry water during a rain event. Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. Secure your residence by bringing in outdoor furniture and moving essential items to an upper floor, only if it is safe to do so. Do not attempt to walk or drive through flowing water. Never drive into water of unknown depth.

AFTER A FLOOD Listen for news reports to learn whether the water supply is safe to drink. Avoid floodwater as it may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, raw sewage, or may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines. Return to your residence only when authorities indicate it is safe. Use extreme caution when entering buildings due to potential hidden water damage. Clean and disinfect everything that was wet.

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TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN Driving during flooding events is dangerous because it's impossible to judge how deep or rapid the water is until it's too late, putting your life and your passengers at risk. More deaths are caused by flooding each year than by any other severe weather-related hazard. This is because drivers tend to underestimate the strength and speed of water. Over half of all flood-related deaths occur when vehicles are driven into floodwater, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Many deaths result from drowning in automobiles as they are swept downstream. These deaths could have been prevented if people had heeded the warning signs of flooding on the roads. The next leading cause of flood-related deaths is walking into or near flood waters. So, whether driving or walking, any time you come to a flooded road, TURN AROUND, DON'T DROWN!

FLOOD FACTS Six inches of moving water can make an adult fall. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pick-ups.

DRIVING DURING A FLOOD Here are some tips for driving during a flood: Avoid areas already flooded, especially if the water is flowing fast. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams. Do not drive into flooded areas. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away. Road beds may be washed out under flood waters. NEVER drive through flooded roadways - you do not know the condition of the road under the water. Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions. Move to higher ground if heavy rain or rising water occurs. Creeks and streams can rise very rapidly during heavy rainfall. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

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DRIVING ON GRAVEL ROADS El Paso County has more than 2,100 centerline miles of roads, half of which are gravel roads. Gravel roads are unpaved roads made of small rocks, gravel, or other aggregate road surfacing material. Gravel roads, which account for most of El Paso County's nonpaved roads, present their own challenges and require different driving skills and techniques from paved roads. A significant difference between paved and gravel roads is that the surface condition of gravel roads constantly changes due to fluctuating weather conditions and traffic levels. This can make driving on gravel roads a challenge because the surface can be uneven, and it can be difficult to maintain traction.

Challenges of Driving on Gravel Roads: Unpredictability of road surface - Many factors affect the condition of a gravel road, including construction materials, weather, traffic volumes, and vehicle weights. Visibility - Dust clouds kicked up by vehicles can impair visibility. In addition to dust, kicked up gravel and pebbles can also hinder visibility and cause damage to your vehicle. Weather conditions and rain – Rain on gravel roads can turn into mud. Mud like gravel, can be slippery. Heavy rains could turn the road into a soft, muddy surface, putting you at risk of getting stuck. Washboard roads – Washboarding on roads occurs when road surfaces made up of sand or gravel develop ripples. Washboarding on gravel roads can result in a bumpy ride for drivers. Less traction – Driving on loose gravel can be more difficult than driving on pavement because of reduced traction. Your tires do not have as much traction on gravel roads as they do on asphalt roads. Drivers should use extra caution when traveling on gravel roads. When leaving the pavement to drive on gravel, a driver must recognize the important differences and change driving habits needed to drive on gravel. Here are some safety tips for driving on gravel roads: Check the weather before you travel on gravel roads. If possible, avoid driving in the rain or on wet gravel roads. Check your tire pressure. Slow down when moving from pavement to gravel. Avoid any sudden changes in direction or speed. Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead. Watch out for hazards – dust, road washouts, washboarding, etc. Pay attention to road traffic signs and speed limits.

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EL PASO COUNTY ROAD SAFETY PLAN El Paso County released its draft Road Safety Plan. The El Paso County Department of Public Works, along with County partners, stakeholders, residents, and the County’s Road Safety Plan consultant, worked together to develop this plan to help make roads safer and reduce deaths and serious injuries on county roads. As part of this effort, El Paso County conducted a detailed analysis of current safety and crash trends in the region and identified priority roadway types for safety improvements, education, and enforcement priorities. The El Paso County Road Safety Plan will serve as a guide for the county and partner agencies in implementing recommendations based on an innovative data-driven approach to traffic safety. The draft El Paso County Road Safety Plan is online for public review from July 12 through August 12, 2022. El Paso County encourages the public, especially El Paso County residents, to review the Road Safety Plan and provide public comment by emailing After the public comment closes on August 12, 2022, the plan will be updated and presented to both the Highway Advisory Commission and the Board of County Commissioners before it is reviewed and voted on. The plan is expected to be finalized by November 2022. For more information about the El Paso County Road Safety Plan project, please visit the comprehensive El Paso County Road Safety Website or scan the QR code. The website also includes the Literature Review, Road Safety Audits and Best Practice Toolkit.

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EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT Joshua Palmer Joshua Palmer started working for the El Paso County Department of Public Works in December 2020 as the Capital Engineering Supervisor. In that role, Joshua would work directly with the design engineers and project managers. Six months later, he was given an opportunity to become the Deputy County Engineer. And now, just over a year later, Joshua has slipped into the shoes of the County Engineer. In his current role, he leads the Engineering division and directs the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of the County's roads, bridges, stormwater infrastructure, and facilities. Working for the Department of Public Works has afforded Joshua the chance to work in the County he lives alongside like-minded individuals that are deeply invested in the team's success. The most fascinating part of his role is seeing things go from nothing to something -- a transformation process he gets to enjoy on a daily basis. Even in the relatively short time Joshua has been with the County, he has gained a great deal of experience and an appreciation for the work that goes unnoticed by most people. He has learned about how to manage expectations effectively and tell the stories of the County's many projects.

"The goal is progress, not perfection" ~ The motto Joshua lives by ~ PG 9

WOODMEN ROAD MILLING AND PAVING Martin Marietta Materials began milling and paving operations on Woodmen Road the evening of July 17. Night work operations are planned to take place from approximately 7:00 p.m. through 6:00 a.m. Signalized intersections at Meridian Road North and Woodmen Road and McLaughlin Road and Woodmen Road are planned to be closed while work is being completed within the intersection. Only one intersection will be closed at a time, with each closure lasting approximately one hour. Access to and from Woodmen Rd will be closed only at these signalized intersections. The intersections will reopen completely once the work is completed. Drivers will be detoured while the closures are in place. Drivers are reminded to reduce speeds and to watch for workers, equipment, signs, and barricades. .



$1.85 Million


Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority


August 2022


District 2















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