Jan. 11, 2021

Geotechnical Investigations a Critical Step Toward Colorado River Connectivity Channel Construction

Investigatory drilling and other preparations were recently in full swing for crews planning to build the Colorado River Connectivity Channel  in later 2021. In September 2020, Windy Gap Reservoir was drained for soil and rock examinations to be conducted prior to construction. In November, the critical geotechnical investigations got underway as Northern Water worked with AECOM to conduct drilling and dig test pits in and around the emptied reservoir. The soil samples and rock cores collected were submitted for analysis to help further understand the characteristics of the future construction site.  The Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Colorado Department of Natural Resources were also on-site during drilling.   

The connectivity channel  is an environmental enhancement measure within the Windy Gap Firming Project. The connectivity channel  will decrease the size of the existing Windy Gap Reservoir and construct a connecting channel around the reservoir capable of passing water, fish and sediment, thereby reconnecting miles of the Upper Colorado and Fraser rivers.  

After getting underway in 2021, construction is expected to take place over the next couple years, with the first water running through the connectivity channel  in the summer of 2023.