Red Rocks Park Stormwater Detention & Upper Parking Lot CM/GC
Morrison, Colo.
Best Project

Owner: City and County of Denver Dept. of Public Works
Lead Design Firm: Jacobs
General Contractor: SEMA Construction Inc.
Design Consultant: Parsons
Subcontractors: Foothills Paving & Maintenance Inc.; Colorado Custom Rock Corp.; Ground Engineering Consultants Inc.; Sturgeon Electric Co.; Western States Reclamation Inc.; P&H Equipment Inc.; Pancho’s Concrete; American Sign & Barricade Co.; Western Milling

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colo., is one of the Denver metro area’s favorite destinations for day trips and big-name concerts. The entertainment venue is touted as the only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world. It’s the site of nearly 150 events each year, drawing more than a million visitors annually.

But all of that use had created the need for some significant upgrades. The complex required a new water line and improvements to one of its parking lots, where serious erosion was causing problems. Finally, to improve safety, the park needed new sidewalks for pedestrians around the parking lot.

Summers are so busy at Red Rocks that SEMA, the contractor, could work on the project only during the winter. At an elevation of 6,450 ft, the park gets a lot of snow, which the contractor regularly had to remove and transport off site. That kept the subgrade from freezing and allowed the sun to dry the work area.

The dirt-and-gravel parking lot was quite steep. Erosion and stormwater runoff had created ruts, requiring costly regular maintenance. The contractor reduced the angle of the lot and then covered it with asphalt. But there was still a problem: the asphalt contrasted sharply with the famous red hue of the park. The solution: add some red-chip seal to cover the asphalt and match the natural surroundings.

The project was completed with a perfect safety record, on time and under budget.

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