Gross Reservoir will stay closed for ‘several weeks’ after fatal crash

Grace Hood/CPR News
Denver Water wants to raise the dam at Gross Reservoir 131 feet. Storage expansion is something Colorado and Wyoming are pursuing as they grow into their supply of Colorado River water.

Gross Reservoir in Boulder County will remain closed to recreation for "several weeks" as crews work to remove equipment and debris after a construction accident left one man dead early Saturday morning.

Matthew Liu, a 28-year-old construction worker from Arvada, appears to have driven a rock hauler too close to the edge of Gross Dam Road, according to the Colorado State Patrol. The vehicle was carrying about 7,000 pounds of stone and fell down an embankment when the unpaved road gave way under it. That sent the truck tumbling into more than 40 feet of water.

The crash happened around midnight. Police have found no sign that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the incident, but an investigation is underway.

"We now ask for the public’s patience as our contractor works to safely remove the vehicle from the reservoir and so that all involved parties can thoroughly investigate and make any changes necessary to ensure another accident like this does not occur again," Jim Lochhead, CEO of Denver Water, said in a statement.

Dive crews did recover Liu's body from the truck. He had six years of experience and was working for Kiewit Barnard as part of the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project.

Denver has been trying to expand the reservoir for nearly 20 years. Boulder County commissioners accepted a settlement with Denver Water over the Gross Reservoir expansion last fall. Some county leaders and environmentalists opposed the expansion, arguing it would damage fragile ecosystems.

CPR's Hayley Sanchez contributed reporting to this story.