News Release Archive

Highway Over El Vado Dam Closed Again for Drilling

Media Contact: Mary Carlson, 505-462-3576,

For Release: December 03, 2015

EL VADO, N.M. – The highway over El Vado Dam will be closed to traffic during daytime hours for up to 18 days in December.

The closure of state Highway 112 from one end of the dam to the other will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The latest round of drilling began December 1 and will run for the next few weeks until the contractor for the Bureau of Reclamation completes geotechnical investigations.

The drilling into the interior of the dam is part of a study being conducted as Reclamation prepares for an analysis of the embankment. A total of five holes are being drilled using two rigs. The drilling started in November but drilling conditions made it impossible to complete during the original two-week period. The dam crest road is only about 15-feet wide so there is no way for vehicles to pass while the drilling rigs are positioned on the road. Residents living in the vicinity or anyone visiting the area can expect significant noise during the drilling. Typical noise levels from a sonic drill rig are approximately 96 decibels measured 50’ from the source.

During the work period, the road will be open to traffic from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. the following morning. During the daytime closure of state Highway 112 alternate routes include Rio Arriba County Road 322 on the west side of El Vado Reservoir north to state Highway 95 or state Highway 112 south.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.