A threat of flooding prompted the Colorado Department of Transportation to temporarily close both directions of U.S. 24, from Manitou Springs to Cascade, for an hour on Sunday.
Rain began to fall over the Pikes Peak region after 1 p.m. as the National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for the area, focusing on the Waldo Canyon burn scar, in effect until 6:30 p.m.
No flooding was reported on or near the closed stretch of the highway, from milemarker 293 to 298, as the department reopened the highway at 5:30 p.m., an hour before the flood advisory was scheduled to expire.
The areas most affected by the rains included the Sand Gulch, Wellington, Fountain, Waldo and Williams Canyon drainages, according to the weather service.
Cascade, Chipita Park, southern portions of the Waldo Canyon burn scar and U.S. 24, mainly between Chipita Park and Manitou Springs, were expected to experience minor flooding.
The transportation department established new protocols effective Aug. 15 for roadways in Ute Pass, when flooding is likely or imminent.
"Maintenance crews will actively patrol U.S. 24 in the Waldo Canyon burn area between Manitou Springs and Cascade, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through Oct. 1," spokesman Bob Wilson said. "When the National Weather Service issues a flash flood warning or more than 1/4 of an inch rain is detected in the burn area rain gauges, CDOT and the Colorado State Patrol will close the highway."
The highway would remain closed until the warning was lifted, any debris was removed from the highway and the road was safe for travel.
"We learned just how quickly a flood watch can turn into a raging flash flood so we're instituting these new procedures because we cannot compromise public safety in the interest of keeping the highway open," CDOT Regional Transportation Director Tom Wrona said. "While we recognize this may be an inconvenience for some travelers at times, we must be cautious."