Flooding cuts off access to Montezuma in Summit County

Voluntary evacuation order issued

MONTEZUMA, Colo. - Historic runoff in the Snake River took its revenge on Montezuma Road, cutting off access to the small Summit County town of Montezuma, east of Keystone.

A 45-foot span of road was washed away Tuesday, and county leaders toured the damage Wednesday.

"It's just mind-boggling. It's phenomenal," said Summit County Commissioner Karne Stiegelmeier. "I had no idea this much had been taken away."

Authorities said after massive amounts of snow, the area is seeing the highest water runoff in decades. The Snake River exploded Tuesday afternoon after two culverts under the road got clogged with debris.

For now, the only way in and out of Montezuma, a town of about 65, is a hike one resident said took more than an hour. Temporary evacuation orders have been issued.

"From what I can tell, it looks like the majority of us have stayed put, " said Helen Moor, town clerk. "Most of us are prepared for being stuck at home for at least a week, being in a remote area."

County leaders worked Wednesday to get a temporary walking bridge in place over the river on an abandoned dirt road. They said they hope to have an additional bridge for vehicles there in the next several days.

For now, the town cut off is banding together.

"Last night I guess most people in town all got together and had a little bonfire," Moor said. "Everybody brought stuff, shared some s'mores. We just make the best of it. We're a hardy bunch of people up there."

County officials told 7NEWS that early repair estimates for the roadway are at least $1 million.

"Which we don't have in our budget," said Stiegelmeier. "We'll have to dig into reserves."

She believes it will take the entire summer to fix the road.

The town is located near Arapahoe Basin and Keystone ski resorts.

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