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Ridgway Dam facts for kids

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Ridgway Dam

Ridgway Dam is an earthen dam on the Uncompahgre River which impounds Ridgway Reservoir, located about 6 miles (10 km) north of the town of Ridgway in Ouray County, Colorado. The dam is 332 ft (101 m) high and 2,465 ft (751 m) long, with a capacity of 84,410 acre⋅ft (104,120,000 m3) of water.

Ridgway Dam was built as part of the Dallas Creek Project. Construction began in 1978 and completed in 1987. The construction of the dam forced the re-routing of U.S. Highway 550 to the east and the abandonment of the Ridgway Branch of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad.

Hydroelectric retrofitting

In 2014, work was completed on retrofitting the dam to add a hydroelectric plant. The dam's operator, Tri-County Water Conservancy District, installed two turbines and generators, an 8 kW system and a 7.2 MW system. The larger one is used in summer and the smaller one in winter. The electricity created is sold to the Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association and to the City of Aspen. Construction of the new hydroelectric project cost approximately $18 million. In an average year, the two generators produce about 24,000 megawatt hours of electric power.

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