Vail Valley: High water closes paths, damages homes
VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – High water and flooding have damaged homes and bridges in East Vail and shut rec paths throughout the Vail Valley MondayThe bicycle pedestrian bridge at Aspen Court in East Vail was struck by a large tree and is a total loss. The bike path remains closed. There is water damage and unknown dollar loss at the Heathers condominium complex at 5187 Black Gore Drive.Thirty-eight town of Vail employees and 12 volunteers from Vail Mountain Rescue, Salvation Army and Vail Community Emergency Response Team worked throughout Sunday afternoon and evening on the flooding. The crews cleared log debris at the Aspen Court pedestrian bridge as well as Bridge Road and Vail Valley Drive and made 400 sand bags to help protect homes.Flooding is predicted to reach a high point this afternoon and evening, according to the National Weather Service, which has issued a flood warning for Vail and Eagle County until 8 p.m. today.Damage from the high water levels on the Eagle River has forced Avon to temporarily close the Whitewater Park’s observation deck directly under “Bob the Bridge” on Avon Road and the lower-lying sections of the bike path through Avon. The flagstone patio and the large flat boulders surrounding the patio, which are used as a viewing terrace on the river’s edge, are closed due to severe damage caused by high water Sunday. For public safety, flood waters have also forced the closure of lower lying sections of the bike path throughout Avon. The viewing terrace will remain closed until it can be repaired, and sections of the bike path will remain closed until water levels subside. Town of Avon police officers and Public Works department will patrol sections of the river to warn people of the dangers of being too close to the river’s edge. Community members are advised to stay away from the river banks because they are unstable and can collapse without notice. Rafting, kayaking and fishing and other water activities are also highly discouraged due to the amount of debris in the rivers. As a reminder, never try to cross swiftly flowing water on foot because the powerful force of the rushing water can sweep a person away in a matter of seconds.Eagle County has closed several area recreation trails until further notice. In Vail, the Dowd Junction recreation path is closed; cyclists are warned that travel on I-70 is not advised. In addition, the bike path between Aspen Lane and Aspen Court just east of the Vail Golf Course is also closed due to flooding and erosion damage from the high waters from Gore Creek. In Avon, the section of the regional trail system from Avon Road near Starbucks to the west boundary of the town near Arrowhead is closed. Trail users must detour to Highway 6 and are advised to use caution on the alternate route. The Gypsum to Dotsero section of the regional trail system is also closed, beginning one-half mile west of the Gypsum Bureau of Land Management campground. Trail users must detour to Highway 6 and are advised to use caution. Additional trail closures may occur if necessary. Emergency service personnel are advising homeowners near waterways to be mindful of the potential for flooding and to safeguard their property as needed. Officials are monitoring creeks and rivers 24 hours a day and will attempt to alert property owners of potential flooding through 911 call backs, through Emergency Alert System broadcasts on local radio stations and through EC Alert, the county’s free community notification system. Subscribe to EC Alert at http://www.ecalert.org to receive real-time emergency information to your cell phone, pager or other electronic device via text message and/or e-mail.