MANITOU SPRINGS – A sinkhole in Manitou Springs has closed one of the city’s most traveled streets, but a fix could be coming soon.
Mayor Ken Jaray released a statement Thursday saying the Colorado Department of Transportation selected a contractor to repair the Ruxton Creek culvert, and that the company would likely send equipment to the area as early as Friday.
The sinkhole formed after flash flooding wreaked havoc on Manitou Avenue on July 23. Water washed out the Ruxton Creek culvert, which runs beneath the street, leading to the sinkhole.
It was a day Conrad Warner will never forget.
“Upwards of two to three feet deep of water rushing down the road,” Warner said. “Luckily, my business happened to get away with nothing, actually.”
Warner owns Marilyn’s Diner, which sits at the intersection of Manitou Avenue and Ruxton Avenue — the exact location of the road block for the sinkhole. The diner was untouched following the flood, but now, Warner said it’s taking a hit due to the sinkhole.
“They’ve had to make signs saying, ‘Hey, the sidewalks and shops are still open.’ But, you know, I think it’s been affecting business a lot more than anybody wants to admit,” Warner said.
Visitors have noticed the change too.
Charles Roberts and his mission group have come to Manitou every summer for the last four years.
“This is a great community,” Roberts said. “I mean, there’s lot of families here. I see lots of stores. Of course, the tourist trade is great.”
But at the intersection of Manitou and Ruxton — where Roberts plays his guitar — the usual audience isn’t there this year.
“In previous years, there are many more people on this side of the circle, you know, hanging out and even people who bred over from the market would come sit out here. And there aren’t as many people out here as there were last year,” he said.
The road block has turned motorists around, forcing them to find another route to some of Manitou’s most popular attractions.
But with construction workers potentially staging Friday to begin work on the culvert, both Roberts and Warner said it’s a project they welcome immediately.
“The fact that it’s only going to be six weeks, hopefully, that’s at least good for the town,” Warner said. “We can get back up and running again, and start about our business.”
Jaray said the city has already authorized work to occur 24/7, so the damaged culvert can be repaired as soon as possible. Per Jaray, CDOT told the city the project should be complete no later than Sept. 21.