Dam Road: There may be a reasonable solution | SummitDaily.com

Dam Road: There may be a reasonable solution

Having spent more than 30 years in the federal government dealing periodically with threat assessments, it is not unreasonable for Denver Water to take action to increase protection of the Dillon Dam, which has been a soft, high value target for terrorism.

There are thousands of such targets in the United States, and there may be no specific threat against the Dillon Dam. But Denver Water’s is correct in taking their responsibility seriously and taking reasonable precautionary steps. Summit County should respect that.

This is not to say that Denver Water’s approach to closing the Dam Road has been acceptable. From the standpoint of public outreach and relations with the County, it has been a disaster. The insensitivity of Denver Water to consulting locally has raised the temperature of this issue to the point at which a reasonable compromise may have been overlooked.

If I understand it correctly, Denver Water’s concern is the possibility of a large quantity of explosive being detonated on the Dam, causing enough damage to allow overtopping followed by top-down erosion leading to catastrophic failure. From what I have read, it appears that a truck would be required to deliver a sufficient quantity of explosives to accomplish that.

If that is the case, why not ban truck traffic from using the road, enforcing the ban by placing hardened height-limiting structures at each end of the dam? This would physically exclude trucks but would allow smaller vehicles access. An appropriate height might be in the 7- to 8-foot range, which would allow standard vehicles with lower profile roof racks to pass, but not allow larger vehicles.

Additionally, pop-up barriers should be placed on both ends of the dam road to allow entry of emergency vehicles and cleared snow-plows.

While this won’t be a perfect solution, (it would not allow access to the Summit Express, other buses, or cars with loaded bike racks), it would solve most of the problem for traffic access and should adequately resolve Denver Water’s concern, if the concern is a large volume of explosives.

An approach along this line would be far less expensive that building an additional cross-county road. It could also be the focal point for negotiating to take the pending legal action against Denver Water off the table.

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