The joke in Colorado Springs is that only drunk drivers travel in a straight line anymore — everyone else is swerving all the time to save their alignment and tires.
But the Springs isn't the only city struggling with potholes. Colorado Department of Transportation spokesperson Bob Wilson says the wet spring has led to massive problems across the state, even causing recent daytime lane closures on Interstate 25. Closer to home, little Manitou Springs is also having its fair share of problems — just in time for tourist season.
Manitou Mayor Marc Snyder says that unlike in Colorado Springs, the problem isn't related to money. In February, Manitou City Council set aside some $40,000 to fix potholes, anticipating a bad season. But legal problems with a contractor caused delays, even as Manitou was hiring a new public works supervisor, Greg Springman, to replace the retiring Bruno Pothier.
There were also issues with CDOT.
A few years ago, CDOT delayed a planned repaving of part of its share of Manitou Avenue (west of the U.S. Highway 24 bridge to the edge of downtown) to spring 2016. Manitou had been filling some potholes on the state-owned road with supplies provided by CDOT. But, upset by the delay, it stopped filling them.
CDOT has filled some potholes on Manitou Avenue, and on the on- and off-ramps to U.S. 24. And now Manitou is lending a hand again.
"Even though it isn't really our responsibility, "Snyder says, "we feel we get a better result for having that kind of local control."
Still, it's been a struggle for the city to fill potholes on Manitou Avenue — and its own streets — while also handling other weather-related problems. A sinkhole recently had to be repaired on Ruxton Avenue. Several slope failures have also impacted roads, including one leading to the major drainage structure in Williams Canyon.
That failure has caused major headaches because the road is needed to clean out debris catchments in the drainage system. Ramps are being used to reach it until the road can be rebuilt.
Meanwhile, on May 21, CDOT closed Manitou Avenue between the roundabout at Serpentine Drive and mainline U.S. 24 due to cracks in the roadway and in a nearby retaining wall. A few days later, a rock slide caused the road to close again.
Snyder says it's been "a really challenging spring." But it could be worse: "Thank goodness we haven't had any flooding or mudslides out of the burn scar."