Denver, CO—Rick Moser, Alan Leak, and Josh Morin from the Denver office joined the Tezak Heavy Equipment (Tezak) team and Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) at the Colorado Contractors’ Association award luncheon in late January. At the luncheon, the group was presented with an award for RESPEC’s Little Fountain Creek Stabilization project.
The project involved providing stream-restoration services to protect critical power plant infrastructure for CSU. The project was part of a design/build effort (a first for the Denver office) with RESPEC leading the engineering design and local contractor Tezak performing the construction. CSU funded the project through a grant with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) for stream repairs following severe stream degradation, channel migration, and infrastructure damage that occurred during storm events in 2013 and 2015.
The flood damage occurred on Little Fountain Creek, which flows between a CSU natural-gas power plant and solar ponds that treat process water from both the natural-gas power plant and another on-site coal power plant. Because of the enormous environmental and critical facilities risks, CSU requested the channel be protected to conditions up to the 200-year flood event (in typical projects, the 100-year flood event is used for design). Additionally, the tight timeline imposed by the NRCS grant required that the design, permitting, and construction of the approximately 1-mile stream reach be completed in less than 4 months. The RESPEC team rose to the occasion and provided client-approved designs for bank stabilization, low-flow channel preservation, overbank widening, and channel grade-control structures.
With Tezak constructing and RESPEC providing observation services, the critical infrastructure pieces were protected, which required approximately 100,000 yd3 of excavation; 20,000 yd3 of riprap; and 1,000 yd2 of 4-foot boulders. The success and efficiency of the project allowed CSU to attain additional funding from the NRCS for 2017 and extend the RESPEC contract an additional
4 months. These 2017 repairs included additional grade-control structures, bank protection, utility relocation, and site re-vegetation. Despite the timeline challenges and design/build process learning curve, RESPEC delivered a superior product and established good relationships with both CSU and Tezak for future water-resource projects and future design/build endeavors.