GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Bureau of Reclamation drilling crews will be working on the crest of Blue Mesa Dam, starting on September 12, 2012, and continuing through about October 2, 2012. Workers will drill three sample holes and install instrumentation in one of the holes to monitor the dam. The information gleaned from the core samples and instrumentation will be used by Reclamation for consideration of short and long-term performance of the dam related to dam safety and security measures. Studies like these are an ongoing effort by Reclamation to protect the public investment in water and hydropower projects. To varying degrees these, and similar tests, occur on all Reclamation dams throughout the West.
The work will have minimal impact to travel across the dam via Colorado Highway 92. Knowing that this roadway is one of Colorado's most scenic routes, connecting the north and south rims of the Black Canyon, workers will maintain one lane of traffic throughout the drilling operation. There will be warning signs and stop lights on the approaches to both ends of the dam to control traffic. The delay in any direction should be less than five minutes. Fall activities relying upon Highway 92, including hunting, camping, and scenic viewing of the fall colors, should not be impacted by the drilling work.
Blue Mesa Dam is on the Gunnison River approximately 30 miles west of Gunnison, Colo. It is an earthfill dam and creates Colorado's largest body of water, Blue Mesa Reservoir. It is also the first of three dams, including Morrow Point and Crystal Dams, which creates the Wayne N. Aspinall Unit of the Colorado River Storage Project.
For more information contact Justyn Hock with Reclamation at (970) 248-0625.