Dillon Dam Road security stiffens | VailDaily.com

Dillon Dam Road security stiffens

Ashley Dickson
Summit County Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Mark Fox/Summit DailySilverthorne police officer Eric Brors looks over vehicles as they pass through a checkpoint on the Dillon Dam Road Tuesday.

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado ” Frisco resident Matthew Wade was elated when he discovered the Dillon Dam Road had been reopened to passenger vehicles two weeks ago, but his excitement quickly fizzled when his cargo van was turned away at the gates Monday morning.

“I had been going across the road all last week,” Wade said. “When I drove up (Monday), an officer turned me away without giving me a reason. It’s like it is open, but it’s not.”

Police presence on the road is part of a temporary solution agreed upon by Denver Water and local law enforcement. The security detail was imposed to satisfy Denver Water’s security needs while allowing passenger-vehicle access.

Denver Water abruptly closed the road for three weeks in July, citing unspecified security concerns. The move generated a mass public outcry, and on July 25 Denver Water conceded to the demands of local agencies and signed an agreement with the county that would allow passenger vehicles on the road between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

“We have created explicit instructions for this detail,” Summit County Sheriff John Minor said. “Officers are instructed to inspect vehicles only if they have reasonable suspicion or probable cause.”

Vehicles prohibited on the Dam Road include RVs, vehicles pulling trailers, cargo vans and vehicles over 13,000 pounds. Drivers of prohibited vehicles who refuse to turn around after being instructed to do so will be cited for failure to observe a traffic-control device and will be fined $100.

“So far, we have only had one incident where a driver disregarded the new restrictions, and they were ticketed,” Dillon Police Chief Joe Wray said. “Other than that, everybody has been very understanding, and most people are just happy the road is open at all.”

Security details on the Dam Road have been divided between four law-enforcement agencies, and off-duty officers have the opportunity to sign up for eight-hour shifts for $42 an hour.

“All of this is 100 percent paid for by Denver Water,” Wray said. “It’s only a temporary solution, and we’re still hoping to get the road back open 24 hours a day.”

The Dillon Dam security task force has been created to analyze risks to the dam and brainstorm potential long-term solutions to keep the Dam Road open.

The task force is scheduled to meet this Thursday, and the discussion is expectd to include creating a device that would physically restrict oversized vehicles from accessing the road.

“Denver Water has expressed that a height restriction could be a potential solution, so we are looking into that,” Minor said. “We’re really learning as we go here, and hopefully we can come to a reasonable solution soon.”

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