The El Paso County Department of Public Works got a major award this week for its quick work on an emergency project.

It was recognized this week by the American Public Works Association (APWA) for its successful completion of an emergency disaster recovery project in the Stratmoor Hills area.

County Public Works recognized a dire need and took action to make sure that residents living near a creek bed in southwestern El Paso County would remain safe. The APWA award for Disaster or Emergency Construction in a Large Community noted exceptional work done by county crews in shoring up a badly eroded 15-foot cliff along Tanager Way.

“We’re deeply honored to receive this award,” Public Works Executive Director Jim Reid told County Commissioners. “The County crews really deserve this recognition.”

In the spring of 2015, heavy rain sent debris rushing through the creek and causing disastrous erosion along the roadway north of Fort Carson. The southern bank of Fisher’s Canyon along Tanager Way was heavily damaged threatening to eliminate the only access road to 10 homes. When the County could not find a contractor for the job, the Public Works Department turned to in-house expertise. They developed an innovative design and county workers completed the $333,000 project.

County funds were leveraged with funding from the Community Development Block Grant program and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Emergency Watershed Protection program.

Reid explained to County Commissioners, “Normally a project this size does not happen in house, but this needed to happen and our team got it done. The award speaks to the expertise and abilities of our employees.”

“This was no small task,” said Commissioner Stan VanderWerf. “We generated some real success out of this project.”

Reid and the Public Works team accepted the award at the annual APWA Colorado Awards Luncheon in Arvada.