Photo courtesy of Matrix Design
The project removed obstructions on the river and reconstructed the river channel to contain a 100-year flood event.

2012 Best Safety Project

South Platte River and Lakewood Gulch Improvements


The river improvements on the South Platte River and Denver's Lakewood Gulch required extensive earthwork and environmental restoration for flood control, recreation and habitat creation. The project removed obstructions and reconstructed the channel to contain a 100-year flood.

The plan required significant coordination among Denver Public Works, Urban Drainage & Flood Control District, Denver Parks, the Regional Transportation District, Xcel Energy, Denver Water and others. Reduction of flood hazards was instrumental in allowing construction of RTD's new FasTracks Light Rail West Corridor line outside or above the new 100-year floodplain.

The project team performed a job safety analysis at least daily and whenever tasks changed. Workers, supervisors and safety managers reviewed the tasks at hand and identified potential hazards, targeting ways to mitigate them. Weekly safety meetings focused on fall protection, excavations or hazard communication.

The project team also conducted several hazard-specific training sessions. Asbestos awareness was a key element, and training on that topic was provided three times during the project. Other topics included assured grounding, trenching, erosion control and stormwater discharge issues.

Key Players

Owner: City and County of Denver

Designer: Matrix Design, Denver

General Contractor: Lawrence Construction Co., Littleton, Colo.

Submitted by Matrix Design