Ditch work near Harvey Gap nearly complete | PostIndependent.com

Ditch work near Harvey Gap nearly complete

Ryan Hoffman
This road sign stands at the north end of the closure on Harvey Gap Road north of Silt.
Ryan Hoffman / Citizen Telegram |

The Silt Water Conservancy District hopes to complete a ditch realignment project just south of Harvey Gap State Park by Monday night, more than one week ahead of a previously planned schedule.

Assuming the district finishes the approximately $200,000 project Monday, it would once again be able to start providing water from Harvey Gap Reservoir to its hundreds of customers below the reservoir.

“Our goal is to have the pipe in there by Monday night so we can start getting water to the farmers on Tuesday,” Kelly Lyon, Silt Water Conservancy District board president, said Friday.

Those farmers and others depending on Harvey Gap water have been high and dry since a portion of Harvey Gap Road collapsed on Aug. 21. Since then the water district has stopped releasing water down through a ditch that runs alongside the portion of the collapsed road, which remains closed.

Although the district has not determined the source of the groundwater that caused the collapse, an engineer indicated the best course of action would be to realign the ditch by using 1,000 feet of pipeline. Plans have since changed slightly in that the district will hold off on laying 100 of the 1,000 feet of pipeline so it can address potential issues closer to the dam, Lyon said.

Speaking before the Garfield County commissioners earlier this month, Lyon said the water district would likely be able to finish the project within two weeks of the pipeline arriving on site, which was expected to happen this past Wednesday.

However, those involved have been working what Lyon said feels like 24 hours per day to get the project done as fast as possible. Teams will work through the weekend in order to try and finish the project by the end of the day Monday.

He said the total cost estimate of $200,000 still looks accurate. Earlier this month Garfield County commissioners agreed to pay up to $100,000 to assist the water district, which is also seeking other funding sources, with the ditch realignment project.

Prior to the road collapse, the water district had planned to drain Harvey Gap Reservoir in order to inspect the dam. Those plans were soon pushed back to fall of 2017 after the collapse. Although Lyon on Friday did not entirely dismiss the idea of draining the reservoir this year, he said it would be a long-shot given the small time frame before winter arrives.

“We’re not too optimistic about that,” he said. “The main thing we want to do now is get the water … down to the farmers so they can save some of their crops.”

While the district’s primary concern is water, completion of the project does have the added benefit of removing a potential hurdle for repairing Harvey Gap Road.

Throughout the ordeal, county officials have said the water district must finish its work realigning the ditch before the county can begin to repair the road.

In addition to repeating their desire to see Harvey Gap Road reopened quickly, county commissioners on Monday approved a contract with SGM for engineering and design work on the road. SGM is already working on the project and, according to a press release sent by the county Friday, test holes will be drilled to assess ground conditions.

The county hopes to start road construction in the coming weeks.

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