Summit County, Denver Water battle over Dillon Dam Road closure |

Summit County, Denver Water battle over Dillon Dam Road closure

Ashley DicksonSummit County correspondentAspen, CO Colorado
Summit Daily/Eric Drummond

SUMMIT COUNTY County officials could learn Wednesday about the unspecified threats Denver Water has used to justify the Dam Road closure.Denver Water officials will sit down with local law-enforcement agencies Wednesday evening to discuss vulnerability assessments that led to July 8s closing of the popular east-west roadway.We hope to obtain information regarding the dams vulnerability that was previously not disclosed to us, Summit County Sheriff John Minor said. We will not be able to discuss the specifics of the meeting, but we will analyze the information and then brief our elected officials before deciding on our next step.Members of the Summit County Sheriffs Office will be joined by the Colorado Rubicon Team, a division of the Colorado State Patrol established to provide full-spectrum vulnerability assessments on critical infrastructures, which includes dams.Last week, five Summit County entities sued the Denver Water Board, seeking a permanent injunction to prevent the agency from blocking the heavily traveled byway.While Denver Water said they learned about specific threats to earthen dams, local officials have been adamant they have not heard about any credible threat to the safety of the dam. Denver Water said they could not share that information.We need to move this along rapidly, Minor said. Hopefully Denver Water will be more straightforward with us this time.Safety and security issues have been on-going topics of conversation at Denver Water Board meetings. Minutes obtained from meetings held on March 26 and April 9 show the board went into executive session to discuss security concerns, although it is not known if Dillon Dam was discussed.No additional meeting minutes have been posted on Denver Waters website since May 28, although five meetings have been held.

Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue issued a notice of violation late Tuesday afternoon after meeting with Denver Water officials, saying the barriers on the Dam Road violate the international fire code.The code states that The installation of security gates across a fire apparatus access road shall be approved by the fire chief. Where security gates are installed, they shall have an approved means of emergency operation. The security gates and the emergency operation shall be maintained operational at all times.Tuesdays meeting was requested by Denver Water by preview their plans to install more permanent barrier and access control fixtures on the Dillon Dam Road, according to Fire-Rescue information officer Brandon Williams.While previews and discussions are welcomed and encouraged, they do not replace the required permit application process to which all construction projects are subject nor do they constitute Department certification, approval or inspection of construction activities, added Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue Fire Marshal and Assistant Chief Steve Skulski.According to fire officials, the violation notice requires the gates be removed immediately and that a reinspection to verify the gates removal at both the west and east end of the Dillon Dam will be conducted at 2 p.m. on July 16.Should the Fire Department during the reinspection find the gates unopened and access by apparatus denied, the Fire Marshal will issue an order to comply and the violation will be referred to the sheriffs office for consideration by law enforcement, who is ultimately responsible for pursuing criminal investigations related to fire code violations.Denver Water acknowledged receipt of the violation notice, but declined to comment.

Ryan Slabaugh contributed to this report.

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