A huge dam project that has been in the talking and planning stage for more than a decade could get a green light to proceed sometime in early 2018.
The Gross Reservoir expansion would see the current reservoir dam, some 36 miles northwest of Denver, enlarged in order to increase capacity from its current 42,000 acre feet to roughly 119,000 acre feet.
Officials with the dam’s owner, Denver Water, say the project, designed to raise the dam’s current 340-foot height by another 131 feet, is needed to supply the growing water needs of metropolitan Denver.
But even though the project earlier this year won the approval of the Army Corp of Engineers, opponents, in particular an organization based in Golden, Colorado called The Environmental Group, are trying to stop the dam expansion.
Those opponents note that the project will require the removal of some 650,000 trees, a prospect that Denver Water has acknowledged, and could pose a danger to migrating cougars, elk, and moose in the area.
The project is now in the hands of the Federal Regulatory Commission. If that agency approves the expansion, pre-construction design and geo-technical work would start next spring.
The $380 million expansion of a dam that was originally built in 1954 is expected to take six years to complete.
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