RE Monks Construction Company, LLC
Emerald Valley Ranch Dam Reconstruction
What makes it interesting?
A limited amount of land could be disturbed due to US Forest Service regulations, and due to limited access to the site, equipment had to be wheeled up a winding mountain road to the site from an off-loading are 8 miles away. The entire embankment had been washed away, and the 100-plus loads of bentonite material, only available from Wyoming, had to be hauled to the site in buckets and on small flatbed trailers.
How HCSS Software assisted with this project
The project was estimated using HeavyBid and managed using HeavyJob. HeavyJob helped RE. Monks make fast work of job tracking, cost, and reporting. But HeavyBid is the most powerful tool the company’s estimating department posesses and is responsible for much of their successes.
On September 12, 2013, the skies over southwest El Paso County, Colorado, opened up and dropped more than 15 inches of rain in a very short time frame. The state of Colorado lost nine dams in the storms, which flooded areas from Estes Park to the western edge of Colorado Springs in a two-day period.
Of the nine dams lost to the state, two of them were at Emerald Valley Ranch. The Ranch dates to the early 1900s, when cabins were built on land leased from the US Forest Service. One dam was built in 1909 and the other in the 1920s, when Broadmoor founder Spencer Penrose bought the ranch and built more cabins. The Broadmoor Hotel had purchased and opened the ranch after a $4 million renovation a mere three weeks prior to the floods.
The reconstruction of the dams required a permit and an approved design to meet current dam safety standards. After a year of permitting and approvals, the work was ready to begin. The project was on land leased by the US Forest Service, which limited the number of trees that could be removed as well as the amount of land that could be disturbed. The dam was inspected and certified by the design engineer as well as the Dam Safety, State Division of Natural Resources. The design of the new dams required a bentonite cutoff wall installed to the depth of competent bedrock. It also included an outfall pipe and spillway constructed of articulated concrete block (ATB).
This seems like an easy task for most dam builders; however, the access to this site was not passable by any vehicle larger than a tandem truck. The largest equipment accessible were medium-sized loaders, excavators, and dozers. All of this equipment had to be tracked/wheeled to the site from an off-loading area 8 miles away as the site was up a winding mountain road.
To complicate the task, the entire embankment from the old dams had been washed away. The only material available was decomposed granite with roughly 50 percent cobbles. The cobbles required a power screen be sent to the site, which required two days of tracking the machine up the mountain road. The 100-plus loads of bentonite (available only from Wyoming) and ATB that were required meant every pallet had to be hauled to the site in loader buckets, skidsteers, or on small flatbed trailers pulled by pickups.
Due to the owner’s expectations that the dams both be constructed in a very short time frame, the project had to operate 24/7. The biggest challenge, beyond the limited access, was discovered when the bedrock was 12 feet deeper than anticipated. The additional depth required valuable added time as well as more bentonite that was only available 500 miles away. In the end, the project was unique, challenging, difficult, and rewarding. Today, reservations are made for many to go and enjoy these two dams nestled in a beautiful, secluded part of Colorado.