Little Fountain Creek Stabilization

Description of Project:

Tezak Heavy Equipment teamed with RESPEC to provide the design, construction and installation of stream stabilization measures to mitigate the lateral instability and degradation of Little Fountain Creek.

In April 2016, El Paso County received a grant from NRCS through the EWP Program to repair flood damages incurred in September 2013 as well as May 2015. The total grant to El Paso County was on the order of $13.4 million for a number of projects. Colorado Springs Utilities secured a Grant in the amount of $3,311,000 for repairs on Little Fountain Creek at the Ray Nixon Power plant. The Grant was awarded on March 22nd, and the projects had to be constructed by October 28th, or risk loss of funding.  Colorado Springs Utilities recognized the tight timeline and moved forward with a solicitation for a Design/Build contract in June to complete the project through this reach. The project NTP was given to Tezak Heavy Equipment on July 14th, for design services, to include geotechnical, survey, environmental assessments and site reconnaissance. The project design team went to work immediately, conducting an initial “kick off” meeting with the project partners to prioritize the goals and objectives of the project and conceptualize a 30% design that could be presented to NRCS for preliminary approval. The 30% design took approximately 3 weeks to formalize and included bank stabilization, check structures, earthwork and a grouted boulder drop structure.

Upon concurrence from NRCS that the project met the criteria for the EWP funds, the concept was forwarded to USACE for the procurement of a 404 permit under the conditions of a Regional General Permit 37. Stockpiling of riprap and material started prior to the receipt of the permits, so that we did not lose any time once construction began. The USACE permit was acquired on August 31st and the project construction team was already mobilized and ready for ground breaking upon the receipt of the permit. Earthwork started immediately, as the design was further refined. This was accomplished by having the project team delineate reaches that could be constructed while other reaches were being designed, as the entire length was around 10,000 LF. The design remained “fluid” and was modified in many cases to provide more cost effective solutions to CSU, while addressing the long term functionality of the channel for future high flow events.

When the project was approximately 75% complete in early October, Colorado Springs Utilities was made aware of additional funding from the initial EWP grant to El Paso County that was not allocated to other projects and was therefore going to be forfeited back to the federal government. NRCS through their regular project inspections, observed the amount of work that had been accomplished on the Little Fountain Creek project, and made the funds available to CSU to further address items along the reach and incorporate a more robust design that would ensure long term resiliency to this reach and protect the critical assets adjacent to the creek alignment. As part of the additional funding, CSU was able to get a time extension on the grant, which allowed for a revised completion date of May 2017.

The final constructed project included the following major quantities:

  • 124,826 CY of Unclassified Excavation
  • 7,262 SF PZ-27 Sheetpile
  • 20,820 CY Type H Riprap
  • 8332 CY Type M Riprap
  • 1,805 SY of 48” Grouted Boulders
  • Revegetation, Dewatering, Survey, and other ancillary items associated with channel projects

This project reflects the accomplishments that can be achieved when all goals and objectives are discussed in a collaborative environment. The owner was involved in the process and all parties took “ownership” of each of their respective tasks, so that the project could achieve success in a very short timeframe. The finished product met all criteria as required by the grant, and the project team was able to deliver a much more resilient design and address many more critical areas than was initially envisioned.