Matt Zalaznick

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June 19, 2003
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Disaster declared in East Vail

A disaster has been declared in East Vail more than two weeks after water spilling from a busted freeway drain flooded streets and homes.

Stretches of Spruce Way and Columbine Drive were ruined when Bighorn Creek overflowed June 1. The surging creek also destroyed a culvert running under Interstate 70, causing a sinkhole the closed the freeway for about four days.

It appears the Colorado Department of Transportation will at least split the cost of repairing the damage to those streets. Repairs should begin in East Vail as soon as a final funding agreement is hammered out by Vail and the transportation agency, says Pam Brandmeyer, interim town manager.

"Everyone recognizes that there is an urgency to get in there and get things cleaned up, straightened out and put back together," Brandmeyer said.

The disaster declaration is merely a legal tool that helps the town in its bid to get state - and perhaps even federal - agencies to help pay for the repairs. While fixing just the flood damage would cost less in the short term, it would likely require much more expensive repairs in the next five years, says Greg Hall, Vail's public works director.

The Town Council therefore, has decided to completely re-do the damaged roads, estimating the cost at $253,000. The town is expecting the transportation agency to pitch in at least $141,000, and perhaps more.

"We'll continue to negotiate toward outcomes that are important to us," Brandmeyer said.

Town officials were scheduled to meet with the transportation agency Wednesday, and again on Friday. There is about $50,000 available in the town's treasury for the repairs and any additional money would have to be taken from a fund used for major public constructions projects.

The town plans to rebuild approximately 1,800 feet of roadway. The project should preclude repairs for the next 30 to 40 years.

A number of homes were also flooded, and the town is referring homeowners' claims to the transportation agency's risk-management department.

Other private property also was damaged, including a pond near the Columbine Way condominiums that was clogged with debris when the swollen creek overflowed.

The creek is a popular fishing spot, as well as a local landmark, Brandmeyer said.

The town also may seek assistance from the transportation department to clean up the pond.

"That pond has been there since the start of Vail," she said. "I think it's very important to a lot of people."

State disaster aid

East vail Homeowners who suffered flood damaged are being referred to the Colorado Department of Transportation's risk management department: 1-303-757-9579 and 1-303-757-9491.

Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Jun 19, 2003 07:05AM Published Jun 19, 2003 01:33AM Copyright 2003 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.