Construction could begin next fall on a large sand trap called the “Basin of Last Resort” that is designed to catch sediment in Black Gore Creek before it reaches Gore Creek in Vail. The Colorado Department of Transportation is fully funding the $1.1 million project — good news for groups like the U.S. Forest Service and the Eagle River Watershed Council.
The basin already exists — it just needs to be cleaned out. It’s a deep and flat 3-acre stretch of Black Gore Creek around mile marker 183 in East Vail that’s been trapping sand and slowing downstream pollution ever since I-70 was built.
But more than 61,000 tons of sand have piled to the top of the basin pool and can more easily wash away and settle on the bottom of nearby Gore Creek.
The sand, used to keep icy and snow-packed roads safe in the winter, is now covering insect habitats and harming trout.
Environmental assessments on the project must be finished before it can start.