Horizontal drilling project to replace Mesa Verde water line nears completion

A National Park Service project to repair, improve, and replace raw-water intakes on the West Mancos River and Jackson Gulch Reservoir and to replace three weakened sections of the 16-mile-long waterline that serves Mesa Verde National Park is proceeding on schedule and is expected to be completed this fall.


HENDERSON, NV, June 17, 2003 -- A National Park Service project to repair, improve, and replace raw-water intakes on the West Mancos River and Jackson Gulch Reservoir and to replace three weakened sections of the 16-mile-long waterline that serves Mesa Verde National Park is proceeding on schedule and is expected to be completed this fall.

The horizontal drilling project -- which will replace more than 22,000 feet of the Park's cast-iron, concrete-sleeved waterline with newly installed 6-inch, stainless steel pipe -- is believed to be the longest directional drilling project of its kind ever attempted.

Construction management for the Mesa Verde waterline project is being conducted by PBS&J and entails extensive coordination and management to maintain a continuous supply of water to the park's residents and visitors and to avoid any impacts on the park's natural and archeological treasures. The general contractor is TRIAD Western Construction, Inc., with design services provided by Rothberg, Tamburini and Winsor, Inc.

Raw-water supplies for Mesa Verde National Park originate 16 miles northeast of the park in the San Juan National Forest. The water supply runs through the high-country wilderness and crosses land that belongs to the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the State of Colorado, and private landowners. The three sections to be replaced range in length from 2,450 feet to 11,500 feet.

Access to drilling locations is provided by an existing National Park Service right-of-way that ranges in elevation from 8,500 feet to 6,500 feet, varies in width from 20-to-30 feet, and includes slopes that drop as much as 100 feet within a 150-foot run. Soil conditions also vary considerably and include sandstone, clay, coal-bearing cobble, and solid-rock formations.

Construction began last fall and has continued through below-zero temperatures and snow depths exceeding three feet. Following a brief interruption due to extreme run-offs and excessively muddy conditions, construction resumed in late spring.

PBS&J is a provider of infrastructure planning, engineering, construction management, and program management services. The employee-owned firm is ranked by Engineering News-Record as 25th among the nation's top consulting firms. PBS&J has over 3,000 employees and 60 offices located throughout the U.S. and abroad.

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