MJE moved over 2 million cubic yards of dirt for this project, building a dam to catch water from the Pawnee Watershed District – the largest watershed district in the United States. This watershed contains more than 1.5 million acres and crosses 9 different counties in Southwest Kansas (Edwards, Ford, Gray, Hodgeman, Lane, Ness, Pawnee and Rush).
Many naysayers said that the reservoir wouldn’t hold water and that a man-made lake in our region was impossible. At the time, it was the largest project MJE had ever tackled, but MJE was the low bidder on this $14M project, and we met the prequalification requirements.
MJE heavy equipment operators were the star of this project. 25 pieces of equipment were used simultaneously to move and compact soils. It was the first dam MJE had ever built, and through daily positive interactions in the field, with the owners and the engineer, the project was completed in less than 2 years.
This project was unlike anything we’d done before, and engineering specifications were intense. MJE was able to prove our dirt expertise by completing the ‘impossible’. Horsethief Reservoir celebrated its 10th anniversary this summer, and now has a new office/shop, 50 utility campsites, numerous primitive campsites, one rustic cabin, one modern cabin, shade/wind blockers, gazebos, large pavilion, restroom and shower houses, two Yurts, a basketball court, a large playground, and a brand new 18-hole Frisbee golf course. Horsethief Lodge can host large family gatherings, weddings and any special event. It’s the premier outdoor recreation spot in southwest Kansas.
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