Eleven Mile Dam passes annual safety checkup

Mile High Water Talk

With proper maintenance, this 84-year-old architectural marvel should last well beyond the next century.  

By Jay Adams

A 147-foot high concrete gravity arch dam nestled between two rock walls is an awe-inspiring sight. Just ask anyone who’s driven up Eleven Mile Canyon.

At the end of a winding, dirt road along the South Platte River in Park County, this impressive structure plays a vital role in supplying water to more than 1 million Denver Water customers.

May 31 is National Dam Safety Awareness Day, designated to build awareness of the thousands of dams across the U.S. that, like Eleven Mile Canyon Dam, do their jobs and go basically unnoticed every day.

The day commemorates the worst dam failure in U.S. history. On May 31, 1889, the South Fork Dam in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, broke after days of heavy rain. The floodwaters killed more 2,200 people in the…

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