Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Cheyenne Mountain air lifts equipment for landslide mitigation

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tiffany DeNault) CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colorado – A “Lama” helicopter designed for high elevation, lifts equipment in and out of the canyons where ring nets are to be installed, May, 28, 2015. The five ring nets are one of four steps in the mitigation process to reduce the damage of future landslides. The ring nets, 15-foot deep main catchment basin, a culvert down the mountain into the storm water system and infrastructure protection are being built as a result of landslides that struck the mountain Sept. 12, 2013, following torrential rain.

By Senior Airman Tiffany DeNault

21st Space Wing Public Affairs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado  —  Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station continues its efforts to mitigate future landslide destruction.

On the night of Sept. 12, 2013, a landside of approximately 8,000-10,000 cubic yards of debris descended down the mountain and ultimately closed off the primary entrance into the Mountain. Engineers quickly cleared the debris and are now constructing a system to reduce the damage potential of future landslides.

The recent $6 million project involves a four-step system to mitigate future landslide damage: five ring nets, a 15-foot deep main catchment basin, a culvert down the mountain into the storm water system and infrastructure protection for the facilities.

“Mother Nature always has the trump card, so we designed this in a cascading series of protective measures to help reduce the risk of damage to our personnel and mission,” said Maj. Anthony Alecci, 721st Civil Engineer Squadron project manager.

Since the locations of 24-foot ring nets are in the canyons, transporting supplies and equipment on foot is near impossible, so a “Lama” helicopter was contracted to airlift supplies in and out of the two canyons. On May 28, 2015, a third helicopter airlift was conducted, with one more airlift scheduled, totaling 123 lifted items to date.

The five ring nets are strategically placed in and at the bottom of the canyons to catch large boulders and forest debris. All of the smaller rocks, mud and water will flow through the ring nets into the main catchment basin, which will then flow through the culverts into the storm water system.

“It’s a fantastic mix of high terrain work, major earth movements, facilities construction and relocation; you really have all of the trades involved,” said Alecci. “A multi-discipline project this size is complex in project management and it’s exciting to see it progress through the stages.”

Through all of the construction and inconveniences, the continuing support and patience from everyone has been much appreciated by the project management team, said Alecci.

“Our landslide repair and mitigation project should be completed in February 2016,” said Col. Travis Harsha, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station installation commander. “It incorporates proven technologies and techniques to better ensure the safety of our complex, and its critical missions and people.”

To Top