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RBC I For the most part, the roads, bridges and culverts have met the challenge thrown at them the past two weeks by heavy rains and hail all around Rio Blanco County.
Dave Morland, director of the Rio Blanco County Road and Bridge Department, said that with few exceptions, there have been no serious problems in the county due to the storms.
“Yes, there has been some flooding, particularly on County Road (CR) 25 and CR 109, which are in the southwest portion of the county near the Colorado/Utah line, and CR 26, which is in the Piceance Creek area,” Morland said. “We were able to get to those areas pretty quickly, so there were no real problems.
“The most widespread problem we had was with too much water and debris blocking culverts,” he said. “Department employees got to those areas quite quickly as well, so any delays were very short.”
Morland said there was only one structural problem that cropped up. That came about on CR 25, where water tried to wash out a culvert. The washout almost occurred, he said, adding that county crews got to the scene in time to prevent the washout.
He said some work will have to be done to repair the culvert situation but that the road was never impassable.
“There were also some low spots on county roads 25 and 109, where there was high water at times, but delays were almost non-existent,” Morland said. “Once again, the crews took care of the situation quickly.”
Morland also praised the cooperation between the county and Snelson Pipeline on Baxter Pass in the southwest portion of the county.
“The Baxter Pass Road did wash out a little bit, but by the time we got there, which was fairly quickly, the folks at Snelson Pipeline had done most of the repair work,” he said. “It is great to see this cooperation between the county and companies like Snelson. They have been a tremendous help.”
Morland said the damage and serious flooding were pretty much limited to the southwest portion of the county and with a few problems in the Piceance Creek area.
“The roads in the rest of the county pretty much took care of themselves,” he said. “With the exception of the Baxter Pass area, there were no road blockages, there was no structural damage and we were able to keep it all under control with a minimum of overtime; we dodged a big bullet there.
Morland said more culverts will be added to county roads, but that is not due to the heavy rains we have already had.
“As a matter of course, we always add a few culverts every year, and that is what we will be doing to help deal with some of the low spots along some of the roads or in areas where water just doesn’t drain well,” he said. “It is just a matter of routine.”
“I am really proud of the department workers,” Morland said. “It doesn’t matter whether the problem presents itself as rain or snow, the workers know their job is to keep the roads open, and I couldn’t ask for a better crew in cases like this. They have responded very well to the challenges this time and they usually have done so in the past.”