Gordon Announces Corps Plans for Reducing Lake Elevation

February 26, 2008

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced lake elevations will drop even more while rehabilitation work is performed on Center Hill Dam, said U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon.

According to the Corps, levels at Center Hill Lake will vary from 618 feet in the fall and winter to 630 feet in the summer. The lower elevations will make some boat ramps unusable, even during the lake's busy summer months.

The end result will ensure the safety of those who live downstream of Center Hill Dam, but there's no question the work will cause headaches and inconvenience for those who use the lake for recreation," said Gordon.

At a lake level of 630 feet above sea level, 11 boat ramps will be unusable. While the Corps says all marinas will be able to operate at the newly announced levels, access to some may be affected.

Information on specific boat ramps is available on the Corps' Web site at www.lrn.usace.army.mil/CenterHill.

The Corps also has announced the awarding of an $87.4 million construction contract for foundation grouting at the dam. The work will include construction of work surfaces along the dam and installation of grout into the main embankment and left rim of the dam.

The $240 million, five-year rehabilitation project at Center Hill Dam will involve the addition of grouting to voids where seepage is occurring in the earthen dam. Installation of a concrete cut-off wall into the rock foundation of the dam will provide another level of
defense against future seepage.

Problems with seepage have plagued the dam since its completion in 1951. Prior to the current rehabilitation project, grouting was most recently added in 1992 to combat seepage.

"While Corps officials tell me there is no immediate danger of the dam failing, this work is necessary to ensure Center Hill Lake will remain a safe place for residence and recreation," said Gordon.

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