Emergency road repair will leave irrigators dry

A worker checks for water/power line under 31 Road at D Road. A pipe blow out in a nearby canal is washing out under 31 Road. 31 Road was closed.


Mesa County has closed 31 Road at D Road for emergency repair because irrigation water is eroding the ground under the road.

The job could leave hundreds of Grand Valley Irrigation Company customers without irrigation water for two days, said Eric Bruton, director of the Mesa County Road and Bridge Department.

“Hopefully it will be a very short-term closure,” Bruton said.

The county and the irrigation company have monitored the situation for the past two weeks and decided to close it Tuesday because the situation became “significantly worse,” Bruton said.

Bruton said that because of erosion, 31 Road could collapse under the weight of a heavy vehicle.

“We don’t really know for sure what has failed yet,” he added.

The irrigators get their water from the Mesa County Canal. A pipe diverts water to the canal from Lewis Wash, which runs north to south along the west side of 31 Road.

That pipe is around 50 years old, said Charlie Guenther,  assistant superintendent for Grand Valley Irrigation. The pipe has a capacity of about 30 cubic feet per second, Guenther said.

The Mesa County Canal runs west and north along a stretch of D Road. It carries about 40 cubic feet per second of water.

Guenther said his company notified customers of the impending interruption in service Tuesday afternoon.

“We are making all the proper calls now to the majority of the shareholders,” he said Tuesday.
Guenther said plans to fix the pipe were at the ready when county officials called for the road closure.

“It has been a plan for the last three, four, five months,” he said. “That is something that has been planned that, if it fails, we would go down and repair it.”

Bruton said the county will pick up the majority of the repair bill and do most of the work.


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