Editorial: Dam Road not a victory … yet
Some community members are calling Friday’s reopening of the Dam Road a “victory.” We are not. While Denver Water has decided to drop the barriers on the Dam Road, it is still closed to all traffic for eight hours each night.
This story is far from over. Even after negotiations are complete, the most difficult task will remain: Build some sort of trust between our county and the Front Range’s largest water utility. As one public official said Monday, “We’re always going to be here, so let’s stop beating the living daylights out of each other.”
We look for our relationship with Denver Water to cross two major divides in the coming weeks: The Dam Road to be opened 24 hours a day with minor restrictions, and the agreement between various groups on the road’s management plan to be finalized (using both the 1965 and 1974 agreements, which the attorneys say are still applicable).
Denver Water’s decision to pay for any new construction to achieve their security goals is one step in the process of repairing trust. Our taxpayers should not share the burden of their paranoia. Denver Water is also paying for the security officers at each end of the Dam Road for the next 30 days, another concession that this is their problem, not ours.
Expect filters like height-restricting barriers to be implemented in the next month, for attorneys to sort out the legal details, and for the legislature to get involved. State Rep. Scanlan and State Sen. Gibbs are announcing proposals today for bills that could prevent this issue from occurring again.
Because of the less-than-flattering recent attention this relationship has garnered, we expect no more surprises to residents and emergency responders when the road closes, whether it be for weather, a terrorist threat or any other reason. Denver Water’s decision-makers have our Sheriff’s cell phone number, and at this point, should be well-acquainted enough with the local media to know how to alert our residents.
Yet, only when Denver Water needs to close the road again will we get a clear picture if this Squabble for the Ages has led us to a new era of negotiations, or right back to where we started.
Until then, let’s keep the victory talk to a minimum.
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