Shoshone power plant still closed |

Shoshone power plant still closed

April E. Clark
Vail CO, Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Mother Nature can be credited for high flows on the Colorado River ” which peaked Tuesday, June 19 ” one day before a pipe ruptured at the Shoshone hydroelectric plant.

“I’m sure it had a quick gush, but the water is high because there is still runoff from the mountains,” said Brian Wright, co-owner of Glenwood Canyon Kayak. “But we’ve definitely passed our peak.”

Wright said that at 3:15 p.m. June 19, the Dotsero gauge of the Colorado River peaked at 6,770 cubic feet per second. It remained in the 4,400-cfs range throughout Monday.

“It’s been so warm that the snow is going fast,” Wright said.

Wright said the Barrel Springs section of the canyon, between Hanging Lake and Shoshone about one mile upstream of the power plant, is running at a solid Class 5 level.

“I would highly caution people against that unless they know what they’re doing,” he said.

The rapid called Upper Death, located just below the diversion dam, is flowing around a Class 6 category, Wright said.

“That’s pretty much unrunnable unless you’re really hot,” he said.

On the International Scale of River Difficulty, Class 5 calls for advanced whitewater experience, while Class 6 requires expert skill level.

Because of last week’s ruptured tube at the Shoshone hydroelectric plant, the energy facility is closed. The Grizzly Creek and Hanging Lake rest areas remain without power, but CDOT crews will set up six portable toilets at both the Hanging Lake and Grizzly Creek rest areas to accommodate visitors.

The Glenwood Canyon recreation path reopened Saturday after mud and debris was removed.

“What we’re challenged by is at the Grizzly Creek and Hanging Lake rest areas, you can’t use the facilities, which is unfortunate since it’s tourist season,” said Nancy Shanks, of the Colorado Department of Transportation. “We have put in six portable toilets at each site.”

Shanks said CDOT rented generators for Grizzly Creek and Hanging Lake, scheduled for Thursday delivery, costing approximately $4,500 per month.

“If all goes well, we’ll have power to those areas by the weekend, if not Thursday night,” she said. “We will pick up the 12 portable toilets our maintenance crews had temporarily installed.”

The Shoshone plant was damaged after a ruptured tube released large amounts of water, covering the canyon path with mud and debris and flooding the building with 7 to 10 feet of water.

“We are still in the cleaning process, both inside and out,” said Ethnie Groves, a spokeswoman for Xcel Energy, which operates the plant. “We’ll start inspection of equipment early next week. We’re working hard to clean up.”

Work on the eastbound paving project is nearing completion, according to CDOT. The work, which began on May 7, is expected to be done by Friday, June 29.

Hanging Lake Tunnel repairs are continuing with the tunnel’s eastbound bore to remain closed through the fall.

Support Local Journalism