Midland reopens after runoff diverted | PostIndependent.com

Midland reopens after runoff diverted

Midland Avenue has reopened to through traffic and an evacuated family is back home after a scare involving a debris flow off Red Mountain Sunday evening.

City street crews diverted runoff on top of the mountain Monday, reducing most of the threat to the Midland Avenue area.

Mud, rock and debris had poured down a gully from just below the cross on Red Mountain Sunday night. The incident caused Jeff and Kim Fegan to evacuate their home for the night.

“Our kids were really scared. We just spent the night in a hotel,” Kim Fegan said Monday.

The Fegans and their children had been forced to flee from their previous home up Oasis Creek because of a wildfire two and a half years ago, she said.

“I think this was just bad memories for them again,” she said.

The debris flow also threatened the home of Ryan Davis and Lora Lipscomb, but they ended up deciding against evacuating, Fegan said.

Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson said no evacuation orders were issued.

“It was more of a voluntary thing to get out of there and not take the chance,” he said.

In the end, no damage resulted from the flow.

Fegan said she would have to get her driveway power-washed, “but hey, no problem.”

City crews reopened Midland early Monday afternoon.

Fegan said she was happy with the city’s response to the incident, and appreciated neighbor Jesse Smith alerting her family to the danger.

Wilson said the city was lucky the incident didn’t turn out worse. But he also warned that the spring runoff/rockfall season is only beginning.

City crews recently erected fencing on several stretches farther south on Midland to help keep small rocks that have been coming down the hillside from rolling on to the road.

Other places in town also are susceptible to rock and debris flow problems during the spring thaw, Wilson said. These problems are aggravated by a decent snowpack like the one the Glenwood area got this year, in contrast to some winters in the recent past.

“We had a real winter. Now we’re having a real spring. I don’t think we’re done with this stuff,” Wilson said.

The gully in the Fegans’ neighborhood may be more prone to higher volumes of debris flow now that a channel has been gouged out and stripped of vegetation that once helped absorb runoff, Wilson said.

“It’s kind of cleaned out now so that water is more likely to sluice right through there,” he said.

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