CO: I-70 Sediment Removal Project

Nominee: Innovative Management – Small Project
I-70 Sediment Removal Project
Vail Pass, CO

“This was an outstanding effort on the part of CDOT. We are grateful for the perseverance, creativity, hard work, and dedication of the CDOT team in making this project a success.”

Dick Cleveland
Mayor of Vail

In today’s tough economic times, innovative management of transportation projects requires more than just using the latest technologies and tools. It necessitates the need to go “Old School” and collaborate and communicate with stakeholders – it requires contextual solutions that benefit everyone involved. The Colorado Department of Transportation’s I-70 Black Gore Creek Sediment Removal Project accomplished just that.

CDOT began construction of the project on August 25, 2008. The work, conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, cleaned out and reconstructed the traction-sand catchment basin originally constructed on Vail Pass in the 1970s. Crews diverted the creek, loaded sediment into trucks, and hauled it away. The reconstruction achieved remarkable results in returning the so-called “Basin of Last Resort” to its original condition.

The innovation of this project lies in its benefits to all parties involved: CDOT fulfilled its commitment to clean the basin; Vail and CDOT identified a long-term sand disposal site; CDOT received the support of a local homeowners association to build a truck chain-down station; and the association received noise and light abatement.

Also innovative was the disposal of the 17,000 cubic yards of sand (which contained minute quantities of fuel, oils, and other highway materials, and thus could not be recycled for roadway use). A diverse group of stakeholders formulated a clever and mutually acceptable solution. The sand was used to construct a noise and light berm associated with an adjacent commercial vehicle chain-up station. Vail was also permitted access to the berm for disposal of its own used traction sand, thereby increasing the size of the berm and further shielding properties.

The project has earned numerous accolades including: the 2009 CDOT Environmental Process Award; the Max Rollefson Award of Merit from the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the American Fisheries Society; and a water fountain and a plaque from the Black Gore Creek Steering Committee.

CO: I-70 Sediment Removal Project

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