Featured Project: City of Fort Collins~Michigan Ditch Tunnel


The City of Fort Collins purchased the trans-mountain water rights (in the 1970’s) with storage in the Joe Wright Reservoir as part of the high-mountain collection system.  High atop Cameron Pass, an on-going landslide annually threatens the ditch supplying the trans-mountain water.   The Michigan Ditch is an integral part of the City of Fort Collins high mountain water distribution system and has been plagued with an on-going mudslide (which repeatedly has blocked the flow and supply to the Joe Wright Reservoir).  Located approximately 60 miles west of Fort Collins near the summit of Cameron Pass, this water is an invaluable asset.


The City has worked diligently to protect and restore this valuable resource from the slide for years.  It became apparent a more permanent fix was in order.  The Design team evaluated multiple options and the acceleration of the design process was crucial for crews to begin construction as soon as conditions would allow.  Aware of the short window of construction (May through mid-October), crews efficiently established the tunnel site bringing equipment and resources up the narrow Michigan Ditch Road.


The design team was tasked with developing viable solutions to restore the system to it’s full-capacity.  Multiple options were exhaustively evaluated.  The option of a curved tunnel behind the slide’s zone of influence was agreed upon.  The City of Fort Collins, utilizing their progressive Alternative Product Delivery System (APDS), enlisted experts from BTrenchless, Lithos Geotechnical Engineers and Stantec Engineering to develop a cost-effective, long-term solution to the Michigan Ditch Mudslide.  After considerable evaluation, the long-term solution was determined to be an 800-foot, 8-foot diameter curved tunnel bored through the mountain – out of reach of the relentless mudslide.