Section of Coyne Valley Rd. in Breckenridge washed away

Coyne Valley Road washed out in 2011 when a rain event caused the Blue River to flood. With record snowpack still covering the mountains surrounding Summit County, local officials are bracing for what could be another year of significant flooding.
Summit Daily file photo |

High water, fed by torrential nightly rainfall over the last several days, flooded the Blue River, swamping and eventually washing away a portion of Coyne Valley Road on the north end of Breckenridge Monday night while posing a risk to utility infrastructure under the road.

Officials said the road was closed around 8 p.m. Monday. Sometime between 10 p.m. and midnight the water collapsed the bridge, washing culverts and chunks of the road downstream.

The concern now is for power, communication and wastewater lines running under the road exposed by the water. Though the town is working with Qwest, Xcel Energy and Upper Blue Sanitation to secure the situation, Breckenridge officials say they cannot guarantee residents and businesses in the area won’t experience interruptions in service as the rain was expected to continue Tuesday night and over the next several days.

“Anything is a possibility at this point,” Breckenridge spokeswoman Kim DiLallo said. “It’s hard to predict Mother Nature, but it could get worse before it gets better.”

Heavy rain coupled with runoff has saturated natural underground drainage systems, according to DiLallo, forcing water up over the banks of the Blue River.

Repairing Coyne Valley Road, which was repaired last year due to less extensive water damage, will likely take some time.

“We’ll need to take some time to engineer it properly to make sure we build a bridge and a road that’s going to be able to accommodate these 100-plus-year flood areas,” DiLallo said.

In the meantime, town officials are insisting the public, including bicyclists, stay out of the area, as the water continues to pose a significant danger. The bike path has been rerouted, which will occasionally put cyclists on Highway 9.

A traffic detour around Coyne Valley Road will take drivers to Airport Road through the Block 11 property to Valleybrook Road and Highway 9, according to a statement from the town.

Airport Road is also closed near Summit Landscaping until further notice, due to water on the road and Hwy 9 will be reduced to one lane at mile marker 81 due to flooding and road repair.

But while high water continues to cause problems in the Upper Blue Basin, Denver Water officials reported water inflows to Dillon Reservoir steadily declined through the weekend and Monday at a rate of approximately 100 cubic feet per second (cfs) per day. However, Breckenridge officials say water levels do not appear to be flagging closer to the town limits.

At the current rate of inflow, the Dillon Reservoir will likely fill completely in the next five or six days, potentially forcing Denver Water to release more water downstream than the lower Blue River in Silverthorne will be able to handle.

The utility company is currently releasing 1,890 cfs, slightly more than the river’s 1,800 cfs capacity with the hope of avoiding heavier flows downstream when the reservoir fills.

Denver Water reported an inflow into the reservoir of 2,224 cfs Monday.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User