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Dolores Valley residents offered free sandbags as flooding begins

The town of Dolores faces the risk of flooding as above-average snowpack begins to melt. (Journal file)
County Public Works Department donates sand as rain and snowmelt pick up

Free sandbags and sand are available for Dolores and upriver residents who are experiencing flooding from recent rain and snowmelt.

Empty sandbags are available at Dolores Town Hall Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Outfitter offers bags on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sand is available at Joe Rowell Park under a tarp. Residents are reminded to replace tarp after filling the sandbags. Sand is intended for sandbags only. Bring a shovel.

The town notes that it is homeowners’ responsibility to protect their homes. Because of the emergency flooding situation, Montezuma County Public Works donated the sand and sandbags.

Sandbag tips

Fill sandbags half to two-thirds full. Do not overfill. Ties can be used for transporting bags but shouldn’t be used when laying sandbags. Fold top of bag under, leaving room for sand to spread out and the bag to lay flat.

  • Filled sandbags are heavy. Take steps to protect your back when filling, lifting or placing sandbags.
  • Sandbags are to be used to protect your home, not outbuildings.
  • Sandbags should be used to divert water, not create a dam. Do not surround your whole house; focus on doorways or other areas where water might seep in.
  • Lay sandbags so that they fit closely and overlap like brickwork. If possible, lay plastic sheeting against the door to add further protection. Don't place sandbags directly against buildings.
  • When placing sandbags, use about six per doorway.
  • When sandbagging longer stretches, stack sandbags in a pyramid shape, staggering layers like brickwork so that you don't have continuous seams.

For more information on preparing for flooding, visit Ready.gov.

On Saturday, Montezuma County officials toured flood damaged areas in the county. On March 16, a sinkhole opened up on County Road P between Roads 21 and 22. (Courtesy photo)
Flooding update

On Saturday, Montezuma County officials toured flood damaged areas in the county.

Colorado Highway 184 is still closed just east of U.S. Highway 491 because of the danger of flooding.

Colorado Department of Transportation has pulled mud and weeds away from the culvert, and the water has drained out of the area, reported county public information officer Vicki Shaffer. CDOT will replace the culvert, and a reopen time has not been announced.

On March 16, a sinkhole opened up on County Road P between Roads 21 and 22, forcing the road to close indefinitely.

Water still continues to drain through the washed-out roadway, Shaffer said. Repairs are pending, and the road will continue to be closed for a while.

The county Road and Bridge Department is studying the best option for repairs.

County officials also checked out Road G west to the Utah state line to see if McElmo Creek looked like it could flood the road. As of Saturday, it didn’t look problematic, but that could change with moisture this week, Shaffer said.

Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin plans to fly the upper Dolores River valley in April to check for flooding and flood hazards.