By Beth Dodd:
Woodland Park residents will see construction trucks passing through the heart of town this fall as they make their way to a remote construction site east of Rampart Reservoir. The dam at Northfield Reservoir, built back in 1890, is getting a $3.4 million facelift. The Colorado Springs Utilities project will bring significant truck traffic through Woodland Park from 7 AM to 5 PM Monday through Saturday from September 22 through October 30.
The trucks will be hauling dirt along CO 67 N to Kelly’s Road, past Columbine Elementary and Woodland Park Middle Schools, and then turn north up Rampart Range Road. Although the construction company has been made aware of the schools’ arrival and dismissal times and will do their best to avoid the area then, parents have been warned to expect possible traffic delays. Colorado Springs Utilities has suggested that residents take alternate routes during the construction if possible.
The Northfield Water System is part of a collection of 25 reservoirs that supplies water to Colorado Springs and other communities including Green Mountain Falls, Chipita Park, and Cascade. It is located in the rugged country between Woodland Park and the Air Force Academy. It was purchased by Colorado Springs Utilities for about $1.25 million in 1949. Today the system includes Rampart, Nichols, and Northfield Reservoirs.
Colorado Springs Utilities is making modifications and upgrades to the Northfield Dam to comply with state dam safety recommendations. The State Engineer’s Office currently classifies Northfield Dam as a small, significant hazard dam. The 124 year old structure is a 30 foot high, 350 foot long earth embankment with a storage volume of 245 acre feet of water. The spillway is an uncontrolled overflow concrete structure at the south end around 6 feet below the crest of the dam. A water treatment plant, just downstream of the dam, was retired from service in 1996.
The Northfield Dam Modification Project will be conducted by ASI Construction. They have three main tasks to complete. They will construct a new spillway with flow meters and a regulation gate and remove the old spillway. They will raise the height of the embankment by about 8 feet and provide new roads and grading downstream from the dam. Finally, they will demolish the old water treatment plant and associated structures. The work will include removal or abandonment of unused pipes, the inspection and possible replacement of the steel outlet pipe, and reclamation of the area after the end of construction.