Mudslide threats loom along Front Range

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- It’s mudslide season in Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. While no serious slides have been reported this year, there is concern about the heavy amount of rain Colorado Springs has experienced lately.

The past two years didn’t bring much of a mess to the area, but after the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012, unimaginable mudslides poured into several communities.

“It’s been pretty hairy. The first year after the fire was horrendous,” Lono Ho’Hala said. “Cars were washing down the highway. It was a mess."

Ho’Hala owns the Eagles Nest medical marijuana dispensary off of Highway 24 in Cascade and remembers all too well Mother Nature's wrath.

“We had a flood that came off the side of that mountain that looked like a tidal wave,” he said.

While it’s too early to tell how this season will round out, CDOT is concerned by the heavy amount of rain that has moved into the area.

“Thousands of dollars have been spent on mitigation up and down Highway 24 as well as other areas in the city [of Colorado Springs],” said Kenneth Quintana, a highway maintenance supervisor for CDOT.

CDOT has tried to alleviate mudslide concerns by creating basins on top of the mountains, far above the highways to help catch sentiment. CDOT also put in a super culvert near Waldo Canyon. Even with those efforts, they’re not guaranteed to prevent slides.

“It’s never really going to stop all the mudslides,” Quintana said.

The last major slide that came down was on July 19, 2014. A few years ago, a massive mudslide poured down Highway 24 into Cascade, carrying vehicles down the highway.

CDOT said it has not changed its protocol from last year. So far, its efforts have proven to be successful, Quintana said.

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