Channel between Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain closed for construction |

Channel between Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain closed for construction

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi News
Grand County, CO Colorado
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi News
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi News | Sky-Hi News

GRAND LAKE -The channel between Shadow Mountain Reservoir and Grand Lake is closed for construction work as the Northern Water Conservancy District’s contracted builder rehabilitates the connecting structure.

Built 65 years ago, the dam and bridge at the entrance to Grand Lake maintains the natural lake’s water level per federal guidelines to within 12 inches of the high water line when Shadow Mountain Reservoir, the water body connected to the lake, is lowered.

According to Northern, in 1963 the dam structure located between the two bodies of water was modified to allow boats to travel from one lake to the other.

Now, updates to the structure are intended to provide more safety features and operational efficiency. Other than new railings to bring the bridge up to code standards, it “won’t look very different,” said Northern spokesperson Dana Strongin.

Since the bridge is older than 50 years, it falls under the auspices of the National Historic Preservation Act.

This year’s rehabilitation project – under construction by the water-projects specialty company Garney Construction of Denver- includes dewatering about 70 feet of the channel by using a flexible membrane to control water on both sides of the bridge structure. Workers will be rehabilitating the bridge, repairing dam concrete and extending the concrete piers.

According to Northern, there will also be an additional walkway along the east side of the structure upon project completion.

Access to the west portion of adjacent Point Park and to the public fishing platform remains open.

The channel is expected to be without water until Oct. 31.

Northern’s timetable also shows that cleanup and restoration work is slated to be completed by Nov. 15, followed by asphalt replacement and re-vegetation, which is scheduled for next spring.

Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Reservoir will not be drawn down, according to Northern, and their elevations are expected to remain at present-day levels of about 8,366 feet.

About Northern Water:

The Northern Water Conservancy District is a public agency created in 1937 to contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to build the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, which collects water on the West Slope and delivers it to the East Slope through a 13-mile tunnel that runs underneath Rocky Mountain National park.

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