AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– The Cherry Creek water levels running through downtown Denver will be higher than normal on Tuesday after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released higher-than-normal flows of water. It’s part of the annual sediment flushing to keep the dam’s outlet gates operating properly.

(credit: CBS)

“During normal operations, we generally release less than 100 cubic feet of water per second from the dam,” Katie Seefus, water manager, Omaha District, said in a statement. “Annual flushes help keep the gates clear of sediment so that the project can be operated reliably when needed to support its primary role of reducing the risk of downstream flooding.” One cubic foot of water is equal to 7.5 gallons, she added.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns and operates the Cherry Creek Dam in Aurora.

(credit: CBS)

The flush is set to run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday. The total amount released from each gate will fluctuate between 150 cfs and 1,300 cfs and will return to normal following the flush.

“High flows will take some time to reach the downtown channel with an estimated arrival time at the Champa Street Bridge about six hours later. Flows from the last gate opened for the flush will not reach the downtown channel until Tuesday evening,” Seefus, said in a statement. “In the interest of public safety, we urge the public not to attempt to cross Cherry Creek during these high flows and we want the public to know that these higher water levels could temporarily flood bike paths and stream crossings below the dam.”

Jennifer McRae