The John Martin Dam is the major structure in the John Martin Reservoir Project, which project was authorized by Congress under Flood Control Act of June 22, 1936, as a flood Control and water conservation project. The structure is located on the Arkansas River in Colorado and benefits, both for flood control and water conservation, will be derived by certain areas in Colorado and Kansas. Construction, operation and maintenance was assigned to the Corps of Engineers since the principal benefits are from its effectiveness as a flood control structure.
This project was originally designated the Caddoa Project; however, by Congressional Act as indicated in the War Department Civil Appropriation Act approved June 24, 1940, the name of the project was changed to the John Martin Project in honor of the late Congressman John A. Martin of Colorado.
Construction of the John Martin Dam as shown on the cover, was accomplished under contract by the firms of W.E.Callahan Construction Company, Gunther and Shirley Company and Rohl Connelly, these firms being the joint low bidders for this construction.
The dam as designed consisted of a gravity type concrete section 1174 feet in length and an earth section of about 2800 feet located in the flood plain. The structure is extended on either side of the flood plain by low dikes extending from each abutment to high ground and making a structure in total length of about 14,000 feet. The concrete section contains conduits for regulating low water flow and an overflow section controlled by tainter gates for regulation of flow in excess of the capacity of the conduits. The overflow section of the concrete structure is crossed by a reinforced concrete highway bridge to provide a continuous roadway across the top of the dam and to provide facilities for servicing the crest gates and their operating and control equipment.
The reservoir created by this dam will extend up stream for a distance of approximately 15 miles and will have an average width of about 1.8 miles with the reservoir at its maximum capacity.
Due to the entrance of this country into the present war, the structure will not be completed at the present time. However, the only items remaining unfinished are the highway bridge and the crest gates with their attendant operating and servicing machinery. The structure at its present stage of completion, at which stage it will remain until we shall have won the war, naturally, provides limited benefits both for flood control and water conservation purposes. However, with the greater part of the present reservoir reserved for flood control storage, any flood of record could be controlled through the reservoir to prevent serious flood damage down stream from the structure. In addition, the regulation of discharge of flood waters and their release at a rate which can be handled by irrigation projects down stream of the dam will prove of great value in distributing the flow of the Arkansas River so that its entire flow can be converted to beneficial use.
LT. COL. R. E. COLE, C. E.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article originally appeared on page 4 of the March 1943 issue of the Albuquerque District Safety News. Archived issues of the Safety News can be found on the USACE Digital Library.