Archuleta County’s most severe flash flood so far this year hit near Arboles on July 10, leaving a large amount of debris, including boulders, in the road in the area of County Road 500 and Andrew’s Drive, in the Aqua Vista subdivision near Navajo Lake.
Archuleta County and Bridge crews were immediately dispatched to the area and the road was made passable, though Public Works Director Ken Feyen indicated it will take time to be able to fully repair the road.
The storm that caused the slide, Feyen said, was bigger than existing infrastructure in the area could handle. That infrastructure is built to 25-year storm levels.
“This event is significantly larger than that,” Feyen said.
Feyen said the area where the flash flood hit has two, 48-inch culverts in place, but they were no match for the water. Not only was the storm severe, but Feyen explained that it moved in the direction of the slope of the land, increasing the impact.
Feyen estimated the boulders washed down by the flood to be 2 to 3 feet in diameter.
After a flash flood hits a road and county crews are made aware, crews and equipment are dispatched to the area to remove debris from the roadway, Feyen explained.
“That’s about all we can do until it dries out some,” Feyen said, calling the aftermath a “quagmire.”
Once the area is dry, Feyen said crews will remove silt, open ditches, clean out culverts, and reshape and re-grade the area.
If anyone sees that a flash flood has left debris on a county road, he or she should notify the county by calling Road and Bridge at 264-5660 or, after working hours, by calling Archuleta County Combined Dispatch at 731-2160.