NewsCovering Colorado


Restoring Waterways: Arkansas River dam rehabilitation project to begin shortly

Southside Diversion Dam
Posted at 4:56 PM, Nov 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-10 08:38:51-05

PUEBLO, CO — A waterway restoration project is set to begin along the Arkansas River on Pueblo's southwest side of town.

The $11 million dollar project will see the rehabilitation of the river at the Southside Diversion Dam north of City Park pictured below.

The endeavor, which is primarily a public safety improvement project, is in place to ensure the safety of river goers. The dam has been the site of accidents and most recently took the lives of 46-year-old Ricardo Sanchez and 16-year-old Jose Valencia, a father and son who drowned near the damn in 2020.


Two people drown while rafting on Arkansas River near Pueblo

The project will see the creation of a passageway allowing for unimpeded riding of the river through the area. People should expect construction crews in the area for the next 10 - 12 months during the rehabilitation process.

“We understand that there may be some temporary inconveniences to those who frequent this area along the Arkansas River,” said Pueblo Water TD&E Division Manager Scot Burbidge. “We hope to minimize the time river goers are inconvenienced.”

The Waterworks Park project aims to make this section of the Arkansas River safer and healthier. Following the completion of this project, the Arkansas River will be fully navigable by water from the Pueblo Dam to Runyon Lake, according to Pueblo Water.

The removal of this damn will hopefully promote a healthier river by allowing the free passage of fish through the area and creating more recreational opportunities in the future.

The project is being primarily funded by Pueblo Water with financial commitments from the City of Pueblo, Pueblo County, and the Conservancy District.


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