Tackling flooding issues along North Dry Gulch

To mitigate flooding issues along West Colfax Avenue and protect residents, businesses and city streets, the City of Lakewood and the Mile High Flood District are joining efforts on the North Dry Gulch Improvements.



North Dry Gulch -- dry, except when it's not

North Dry Gulch is a major drainageway that runs for approximately 1.5 miles parallel to West Colfax Avenue through Lakewood. Like other gulches running west to east through the city, North Dry Gulch remains dry through most of the year. But when it rains, it fills with water as it drains storm runoff from a 1.3-square-mile area.

An issue older than Lakewood

Prior to Lakewood's incorporation in 1969 and before modern floodplain management, West Colfax Avenue was constructed, and development occurred on most of the private properties along North Dry Gulch. Unfortunately, the natural drainage channel was not preserved and was replaced with paved streets, parking lots and buildings where the water naturally flows.

Over the years, storm drains have been constructed to carry some of the runoff flows. But the existing systems are inadequate for larger storms, resulting in street flooding that creates a risk to residents and visitors driving through the corridor. Additionally, the 100-year floodplain for the gulch -- a measure of where water would flow during catastrophic storms -- encompasses many private properties, with more than 100 existing structures currently affected by the floodplain. Property owners are at risk of flood damage and are limited in their ability to improve their properties.

Years of planning and public input

After several years of planning efforts, numerous discussions with Lakewood City Council and months spent talking with affected property owners, the project team has developed a plan to design and construct an underground system of pipes, often called conduits. The system will be able to handle storm runoff -- including from a 100-year storm -- to address flooding issues in the area.


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