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First steps on Gross Reservoir expansion

After 20 years of preparation, first signs of construction work emerging in vicinity of dam.
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Rendering of Gross Dam
After 20 years of preparations, construction work is getting underway around Gross Reservoir. Image credit: Denver Water.

After nearly two decades of planning and permitting, Denver Water’s work to expand Gross Reservoir northwest of Denver is set to kick off.

Over the coming weeks, residents living near the reservoir may notice early signs of construction activity, including limited tree removal, more heavy equipment on roadways and shifts in recreation access to the reservoir.


Learn more about the history of Denver Water’s Gross Reservoir Expansion Project


“We want residents and visitors to the area to be aware and informed; we are taking the initial steps on the project, including mobilization of equipment, in the weeks to come,” said Jeff Martin, the program manager for the expansion project. 

“We want to be transparent about the work underway and we want to share information proactively while continuing to address questions and respond to concerns our neighbors have shared. Most importantly, we want to ensure everyone’s safety on the roadways.”

A consistent place to get up-to-date information on the expansion project will be through the project website grossreservoir.org as well as via a Google My Map

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Map of Gross Reservoir Expansion Project
Information about access and recreation at Gross Reservoir during the expansion project can be found at grossreservoir.org and Google My Map. Image credit: Denver Water.

The public also can contact Denver Water through email, a phone hotline and virtual office hours, as well as by signing up for email updates and following the utility’s social media channels. Those contact details also are available on the project website and at denverwater.org.

Denver Water also held public outreach sessions in February for residents living in the vicinity of the project. About 80 neighbors attended to learn more about what to expect as construction ramps up.

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Graphic of project timeline
Raising the existing Gross Dam and expanding the reservoir will improve water reliability for more than 1.5 million people. Image credit: Denver Water.

Here are some key things to expect in the coming weeks and months. In many cases, specific start dates for work are still being developed. Those will be shared at grossreservoir.org as details are finalized.

  • Improvements to Gross Dam Road. To protect the safety of all drivers, Denver Water is widening the road in various sections to address tight curves as well as improving the intersection at State Highway 72 and Gross Dam Road. Signage and traffic control will be in place to help drivers safely navigate the affected areas.
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Map of new intersection
Improving the intersection of State Highway 72 and Gross Dam Road will improve safety for all drivers. Image credit: Denver Water.
  • Limited tree removal. Some trees will be removed in areas planned for site development on the south side of the dam, at the future quarry location, in areas along Gross Dam Road and other areas where various construction activities are planned.
  • Equipment mobilization. Trucks and other heavy equipment will be spotted more frequently on Highway 72 and nearby roads as contractors position materials for upcoming work on roads and near the base of the dam.
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Graphic of traffic safety guidelines
Denver Water is committed to ensuring materials are delivered safely to the project site. Image credit: Denver Water.
  • Recreation changes. Access to recreation areas on the south side of the dam, including Windy Point, Osprey Point and Miramonte Picnic Area, will be closed in mid-March. Public boat launch access will be relocated from Osprey Point to the North Shore peninsula. This Google My Map is a good place to check for up-to-date information on recreation and access.

Access to the North Shore of the reservoir will also be limited temporarily this spring for construction of a temporary parking lot to help accommodate recreation shifts during the expansion project.

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Graphic of recreation information
Recreation access will change during the expansion project, this Google My Map is a good place to check for up-to-date information. Image credit: Denver Water.

Construction activities will increase as the weather warms. 

By this summer, truck trips in the canyon are expected to increase to nearly 20 trips per day and the workforce will grow to roughly 300 people, though a ridesharing program will help reduce traffic impacts. That intensity will drop off again as the weather cools. 

“We recognize this project will have disruptions to the community near the project and within Coal Creek Canyon,” Martin said. “We are committed to clear, two-way communication with the public and keeping people fully informed as we move forward on this critical project.”