McCabe Creek culvert replacement project delayed, details remain unclear

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The specific details of an impending project by the Colorado Department of Transportation to replace the culverts where McCabe Creek flows beneath U.S. 160 remain unclear.

“I heard an ugly rumor today that I wanted to ask about,” Commissioner Kathie Lattin said at last month’s meeting of the Pagosa Springs Planning Commission. “I was informed that CDOT is not going to do the bridge now, that it’s going to be two big concrete culverts at the McCabe crossing under 160.”

Town Planner James Dickhoff explained that he had just attended a CDOT meeting in Durango, and reported, “They did change the plan. They’ve gone from culverts to a bridge and back to culverts.”

He added that the plan now is to use three concrete box culverts, because this would be cheaper than an actual bridge. These three culverts would be the same width as the bridge design. Two of the box culverts would be larger, designed to accommodate all of the creek’s low flow and a majority of its higher flow.

The third culvert would be located to the west, smaller and raised 2 or 3 feet above the other two culverts, but it would still be 11 feet high and would accommodate a pedestrian path. During very high flows, water would flow through the third culvert, but for the rest of the year it would be dry and usable.

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