The leaky Cabresto Dam in the Carson National Forest 7 miles northeast of Questa is set to get an upgrade beginning this week. A project to install a new liner is being directed by the Dam Safety Bureau of …
The leaky Cabresto Dam in the Carson National Forest 7 miles northeast of Questa is set to get an upgrade beginning this week.
A project to install a new liner is being directed by the Dam Safety Bureau of the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer. Work was to begin Monday (Aug. 14), according to the state engineer's spokesperson, Melissa Dosher.
The Cabresto Dam, owned by the Cabresto Lake Irrigation Community Ditch Association and Llano Community Ditch, was originally built in 1922. Persistently poor safety ratings and seeping water caused by heavy rainfall were the impetus to construct a new dam in 2014. But even that dam continued to have seepage issues and the state engineer continued to limit the amount of water the two associations could store in the reservoir.
The project to place a liner on the right abutment of the dam is being financed by capital outlay funding managed by the state engineer, according to Dosher. The office awarded the construction bid to Meridian Contracting, which has a location in Albuquerque. The state engineer could not be reached as of deadline for comment on the total cost of the project.
The lake was first drained of water so crews could install the liner. Some water remains below the dam gate, called "dead storage," which Dosher said did not need to be drained for this project.
Crews will first haul equipment to the site, which may cause intermittent traffic delays, according to the Carson National Forest. Construction is expected to be performed Mondays through Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The state engineer estimates a "substantial completion date" to be Oct. 30.
All roads will be open during construction, but travelers may experience increased traffic, according to the Carson. One campsite will be utilized for construction purposes, but all others will be open, as will the restrooms. The hiking trail will also remain open.
Parking, especially for visitors with horse trailers, will be limited. An alternate parking area is located at the intersection of Forest Roads 134 and 134A.
The public is asked to contact the Questa Ranger District at (575) 586-0520 with questions about access to recreation opportunities at the lake or to inquire about alternate places to camp or fish.
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