Tumbling rock destroys bridge to Ouray Ice Park, pipeline to the country’s oldest running hydroelectric power plant
A boulder destroyed the penstock and bridge inside the Ouray Ice Park. The pipeline supplied water to the country’s oldest, continually operating hydroelectric power plant. (Eric Jacobson, Special to The Colorado Sun)
Workers arriving early at the Ouray Ice Park on Tuesday found a disaster.
A boulder the size of a pool table had sheared off the canyon wall and destroyed the metal walkway accessing the park’s popular ice climbs. And it ripped out the penstock that ferries water to the oldest operating hydropower plant in the U.S.
“Just water squirting everywhere and the access bridge, laying at the bottom of the canyon,” said Eric Jacobson, who owns the hydroelectric plant and pipeline that runs along the rim of the Uncompahgre River Gorge.
The rock tore through the penstock, its trestle and the decades-old steel walkway in the park’s popular Schoolroom area late Monday. There was no one in the gorge and no injuries.
“We are incredibly fortunate it happened at night,” said the park’s executive director Peter O’Neil.
For more on this story, go to coloradosun.com.
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