Larimer County commissioners approve final piece of 70-mile Thornton pipeline project

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Posted at 9:55 PM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-09 11:30:19-04

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A war over water came to an end Wednesday night in Fort Collins.

Larimer County commissioners on Wednesday unanimously approved the final piece of a 70-mile pipeline project that will deliver water to Thornton.

With 158,000 residents living in the city now, Thornton’s Interim City Manager Brett Henry insisted the project is needed for future growth.

Larimer County commissioners approve final piece of 70-mile Thornton pipeline project

“It’s probably the most impactful, most important project that Thornton's ever undertaken, certainly in its history,” said Henry.

The pipeline will head east from the Poudre River and down Interstate 25. Most of the $500,000,000 pipeline project is either in design, under construction or complete.

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Section F, which runs a little over 10 miles through Larimer County, has been the missing piece and the part bubbling up the most controversy.

“Thornton is 60-something miles away from here. They accuse us of not being a good neighbor. They are not neighbors at all!” said Jim McCauley, a Larimer County resident.

The pipeline itself impacts just 17 properties in Larimer County, but several residents told the Board of County Commissioners they shouldn’t be inconvenienced by Thornton’s development needs.

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Construction continues at a pump station for the Thornton Water Project.

“The canal or the habitat of the river would appreciate Thornton being a good neighbor and not putting in the pipeline,” said Lori Rock, a Larimer County resident.

Back in 2019, Larimer County denied plans for the project primarily because of its impact on private property. The City of Thornton said building the pipeline does not reduce the river flows and stressed it’s done its due diligence to get this project passed to plan for growth.

“As you've heard… a lot of concerns around the Poudre River. We're actually a partner in its health because we want to see the Poudre stay clean as well,” said Henry.

The pipeline could start transporting water by the end of 2027.

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