The snow is gone and heavy equipment will be rumbling soon at the Jordanelle Dam site, but moving dirt and rocks to push the dam up out of the ground is only part of the Jordanelle story.
Property owners, engineers, planners and politicians are also busy developing plans for recreational amenities around the reservoir to bring economic development for Wasatch and nearby Summit County.And work is continuing at full speed on new highways that will replace sections of U.S. 40 and U.S. 189 that will be closed this fall and later when the reservoir starts to fill in the early 1990s - according to the current construction schedule.
Utah Department of Transportation contractors are moving 16 million cubic yards of earth to relocate U.S. 40 from the valley floor on either side of Hailstone Junction to the mountainside west of the dam site.
The new highway is supposed to be open by October when dam construction on the valley floor will block the existing highway. Once open, the vista from the new road will allow motorists to see both Deer Creek Reservoir to the south and Jordanelle to the north.
Work on a new Wasatch County road that will link Francis with U.S. 40 south of the dam is also scheduled for completion this fall. Another new road is planned to link Kamas with U.S. 40 north of the reservoir.
Work on the earthen dam structure and new highways is clearly visible at the site, but virtually all of the work on amenities is taking place elsewhere.
Both Summit and Wasatch counties are working with property owners and the state to coordinate the proposed development of recreation sites, hotel, condominium and year-round residential developments.
"We've been working on Jordanelle-related projects since before I came to town," said Wasatch County Planner Bob Mathis, who went to work for the county in 1974.
Both counties have formed task forces to oversee development plans at Jordanelle. The groups officially meet separately, but members attend each other's meetings and communicate often, Mathis said.
The counties are involved with the state in a recreation master planning process. A state-sponsored survey of 400 homes in the five-county area surrounding Jordanelle is in the draft stage and will help outline the kinds of recreation residents want. It is expected to identify potential conflicts, such as competition for space by wind surfers and power boaters, and boating hazards caused by alcohol abuse.
The Bureau of Reclamation has earmarked $215 million for recreation development, including overhead, land acquisition and design work, said Fred Liljgren, a bureau landscape architect and recreation planner. The public recreation area plan, formed nearly 10 years ago, is being evaluated and will be finalized this fall.
Construction would follow a 1 1/2-year engineering phase - but only after the Bureau has a contract with a management agency. The Division of Natural Resources wants to be the management agency for Jordanelle recreation facilities, but the Legislature has to give final approval.
A number of private property owners also want to develop property adjacent to the reservoir's management boundary, but only one private developer has gotten past the initial talking stage with Wasatch County officials, Mathis said.
Proposed developments would turn area into resort
The three developments proposed for construction by the Bureau of Reclamationat Jordanelle are:
- A main recreation development on an outcropping on reservoir's west side just north of the dam; anchor the reservoir's land and water recreation activities. It would include boat-launching facilities and possibly a full-service marina and restaurants. The facility could accommodate about 750,000 people a year.
- A smaller recreation facility on the Provo River at the end of the reservoir's eastern arm, about four miles east of the dam. The facility would probably be geared more to fishing and small-boat activities and likely would not have a boat launch because the shoreline will move a considerable distance, depending on the reservoir's water level.
- A windsurfing site on the east side of the reservoir's north arm. Bureau of Reclamation officials plan to install wind velocity and direction gauges this summer to see if the area would be suitable for wind surfing.
Additional private developments that have been proposed to Wasatch County are:
- A hotel and recreation village on 6,600 acres of land on the south side of the reservoir just east of the dam. Sorenson wants to develop some acreage that is inside the reservoir's management boundary and has been condemned by the Bureau of Reclamation. Sorenson owns land outside the management boundary that will not be condemned. He may also be able to lease some of the condemned land for development.
- A complex of about 2,050 condominiums, hotel rooms, duplex and individual residential units has been proposed by the Mayflower Recreation Fund, which is the largest property owner adjacent to the reservoir's west side, north of the dam. Mayflower's development could include stores and other services.
- Park City Consolidated Mining Co. is proposing a development called Telmark Park, which would be situated between the Mayflower land and Park City and would include 600 condominium units and a nordic skiing development, with lifts connecting to Deer Valley.
- Property known as the Auerbach Ranch on the north and south sides of the Provo River stretches over 2,000 acres and is in the control of a New York hospital company, which has proposed a memorial park along the river but has made no definite plans. The company has also talked about building a mixed-use development.
- A bicycle path called "Rails to Trails" along abandoned Union Pacific railroad easements on the reservoir's west side.
- Smaller proposals for development have been mentioned along the new road that will run south of the reservoir's east arm between Francis and U.S. 40 south of the dam.
- No development plans have been announced on the proposed road that would cross betweeen U.S. 40 north of the reservoir and Kamas.