WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced today that the Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $14.8 million contract to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe's Weeminuche Construction Authority of Towaoc, Colo., for re-alignment of County Road (CR) 211 around Lake Nighthorse.
“This is one more significant step towards the completion of the Animas-La Plata Project in which construction is quickly coming to a close,” said Secretary Kempthorne. The road was designed under a cooperative agreement with La Plata County and will be located entirely on Reclamation land.
Because the current CR 211 alignment would be inundated when filling of Lake Nighthorse commences, project workers are reconstructing the road in an area just north of the future reservoir. It will begin at the intersection of CR 212 and then follow the northerly ridge to tie into CR 141.
The new 3.75 mile road is being built to existing La Plata County standards. The location of the new road largely avoids impacting migratory birds and culturally sensitive sites and was selected following a public review process that occurred several years ago. The work area will be closed to the public during construction.
Reclamation anticipates work on the road to be completed in late 2009 or early in 2010.
When completed, Lake Nighthorse will store approximately 120,000 acre-feet of water and include an inactive pool of about 30,000 acre-feet for recreational, fishery, and water quality purposes. Based on the current construction schedule, the Animas-La Plata Project is planned for completion in 2012. The reservoir is scheduled to start filling in 2009. Upon completion of the project, water stored in Lake Nighthorse will be released from the dam as necessary and be returned back to the Animas River for use by municipal and industrial users within Colorado and New Mexico.
The Animas-La Plata Project fulfills the requirements of the 1988 Colorado Ute Indian Water Rights Settlement Act and the Colorado Ute Settlement Act Amendment of 2000. When completed, the project will provide the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the people of the four corners area with a reliable water supply for their future needs, without taking scarce water resources away from existing water users in southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico.
Weeminuche Construction Authority is a minority commercial construction company owned and operated by the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. The Authority has extensive experience in all phases of construction and related engineering disciplines, including: oil and gas field construction, residential and commercial buildings, heavy construction, road building, canals and water systems, sand and gravel, and municipal improvements.
Additional details concerning the Animas-La Plata Project are available at Reclamation's web site at www.usbr.gov/uc by clicking on the Animas-La Plata Project link.