Aspen to begin pipeline project |

Aspen to begin pipeline project

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – A 42-inch pipeline will be installed from Power Plant Road to Aspen’s Thomas Reservoir this summer, and workers have begun clearing vegetation along the route.

The pipe will serve as an evacuation line for the reservoir, in the event it overflows, and will potentially aid in the production of hydropower. The reservoir is located at the top of Doolittle Drive, above Castle Creek Road to the west.

The city is applying for a license for its Castle Creek hydro project and, during that process, discovered it must install the drainage pipe from Thomas Reservoir.

“Whether or not our hydro project is approved, we still have to build this pipeline to work as an evacuation line in the event of a reservoir breach or overflow,” said David Hornbacher, deputy director of utilities and renewable energy for the city, is a press release. There are two 30-inch pipes going into the reservoir and only one 24-inch pipe coming out, he said.

Since the reservoir was built, Aspen Valley Hospital and a number of homes have been constructed below it, Hornbacher noted.

Power Plant Road will be partially closed from Harbour Lane to Cemetery Lane on June 14 and 17, and it will be completedly closed on June 15 and 16, except to local traffic, to accommodate the work. Motorists should use Highway 82 as an alternate route.

The pipeline is, for the most part, following the route of an 1893 pipeline that delivered water to the original Castle Creek hydro facility, which was shut down in 1958.

Meanwhile, the city is moving forward with its effort to obtain a federal permit for a new hydro project on Castle Creek. Studies on streamflows are currently under review and will be shared with the public at a forum on June 16 at 5 p.m. at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.

Go to and check the City Spotlight section for more on the project.

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