A lot of dirt needs to get moved to repair the Arkansas River levee in Pueblo, and plans for the repairs are changing so that dirt can be put to use on other projects. Those changes may affect efforts to preserve historic sections of the murals painted on the levee.
Originally plans called for reducing the height of the levee by 12 feet in phases, but now other projects can use the dirt quicker than first thought. Pueblo Conservancy District consulting engineer Kim Kock said that means they need to keep moving forward.
"If we can get a contractor to come and lower the levee the 12 feet, get rid of that upper level of concrete and get the dirt out of there, it will save the district money in the long term," Kock said.
He said they'll likely use the dirt to extend the levee on Wild Horse Creek. The surplus dirt might also be used for a construction project on I-25 happening this summer.
The change in plans for removing the top of the levee along its entire length means the that the murals painted on the existing levee will be damaged sooner than expected. Pueblo Levee Mural Coordinator Cynthia Ramu said there are plans to identify sections of the mural that have historic significance.
"It's kind out of our hands, but we can try and figure out a way to dance with it and create from it. And cross our fingers that we can come up with some ways to help preserve some of those slabs," she said.
She said they'll have to move quickly save the artwork.
Crews are expected to start removing the rest off the top of the levee early this fall.