Traffic operations center an active place during heavy rain storms

Construction at 6th and I-25 contributed to flooding. July 29, 2014

Construction at 6th and I-25 contributed to flooding. July 29, 2014

GOLDEN, Colo. — Flash flooding made for a slow evening commute but a fast-paced atmosphere inside Colorado’s Traffic Operations Center in Golden.

Traffic Operations Specialists like Tanya Bowen spent the evening monitoring statewide cameras, weather and traffic, all while communicating with law enforcement, CDOT crews and the general public via the 511 hotline.

The biggest headache during evening rush hour was I-25 at the 6th Ave. overpass near downtown Denver.

“They are going less than 10 miles an hour,” Bowen said, showing the traffic mess on a nearby computer.

Flash flooding is common on that stretch of I-25, which is now under construction.

“One of the hopes with this construction project is that once it’s done that will no longer be an area that will get flooded,” Bowen said.

But for now the construction is adding to the problem.

“This is beyond just, you know, going out and sweeping some debris off of a drain,” Bowen said, after watching the traffic move through the standing water for more than an hour.

“It’s not like snow where we can push it out of the way,” said Crystal Morgan, a spokesperson for CDOT. “With the water we have to kind of wait for it to subside and wait for it to recede.”

Morgan also had to wait for the water to recede. She was late to her interview for this story because her 12-mile drive took her through the water.

“It took me two-and-a-half hours to get here,” Morgan said with a laugh.

Of course there were also many other reasons for slow commutes on Tuesday, but there is no doubt that the biggest challenge throughout the night and into the morning will be the impact of another round of rain.

“It’s going to be a long night,” Bowen said.