Construction to limit access

Residents living near Elkhead Reservoir will face inconvenience

Reaching home for a handful of county residents that live near Elkhead Reservoir will be an inconvenience for the next couple of weeks as the final road construction phase of the reservoir expansion project closes the detour road and the dam road.

Ray Tenney, senior engineer for the Colorado River Water Conservation District addressed the county commissioners Tuesday and asked the county to close the detour road that residents have been using in place of Moffat County Road 28, the road that crosses the dam, which has been closed for more than a year.

Construction crews are using gravel and the guardrails from the detour road to finish work on the dam crest road that crosses the recently raised concrete structure.

"The dam has been topped out and today we are working on the guardrails," Tenney said. "We're asking to close both the dam crest and the detour roads for two weeks while we finish the road work."

Three property owners will still have access to their property, but they may have to drive around the reservoir to get home because of the closures.

An agreement drawn up for the closure gave the construction crews until the end of December to finish work, and that worried commissioner Tom Gray.

"The actual closure of both roads needs to be kept to a minimum," Gray said at Tuesday's meeting.

A directive was added to the agreement to allow the crews 20 days to complete the project, weather permitting.

With the dam project complete, the $32 million expansion project will increase the size of the reservoir from 13,800 acre feet of water to 24,888 acre feet.

An acre-foot of water is equivalent to 300,000 gallons of water.

The original dam was built in 1974 and was 80 feet tall. The new dam is 105 feet tall, and a new weir and spillway were constructed as part of the project.

Construction crews are currently working on removing the cofferdam near the spillway, a project that needs to be completed before the reservoir can begin filling with water again.

Plans are to have the construction completed this fall, and begin filling Elkhead Reservoir with next year's spring runoff.

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