CDOT command center keeps drivers safe as roads, bridges wash away

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GOLDEN, Colo. -- As tides of water made its way down canyon roads and into the plains, it was CDOT’s Traffic Operation Center that kept drivers, law enforcement and others alerted to impassable roads.

The command room, located in Golden, looks like any other office. It has ten desks with five computer monitors and a phone on each desk, but it’s the large TV monitors mounted to the wall. Its nearly 400 traffic cameras can be put into the monitors to see what is going on in real time.

“Some are live feed and some are still cameras,” said Rod Mean, the center’s operation manager.

The night heavy rains started to hit west of Denver, Mead’s team went to work. “We had a lot of data coming in very, very quickly,” he said.

Normally there is a staff of two or three at any given time to monitor traffic flow on the state’s numerous highways, but when the situation became serious Mead called in for backups.

“We had 12 people in here at the peak of the storm,” said Mead.

The center doesn’t only rely on information from the monitors. CDOT crews in the field and law enforcement help deliver data. The information is then sent to drivers, either online, through electronic signs over the highway and the media.

“I am not going to say it wasn't a challenge. Everything happened really quickly and we had a lot of different things happen, boom, boom, boom. One after the other,” Mead told FOX31 Denver.

He said unlike blizzards that hit the eastern plains, this storm was widespread.

The state estimates 200 miles of roads were damaged and at least 50 bridges will need repairs.