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Congressional delegation says dam repairs funded and on track

Local News, Notes and Events
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2016/4/8 13:05:25 (1298 reads)

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Colonel Calvin Hudson speaks with reporters Wednesday on Lewisville Dam where repairs are under way on a 160-foot embankment slide caused by last year's flooding. (Photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Members of North Texas’ congressional delegation held a press conference Wednesday in Lewisville to assure the public that repairs to Lewisville Dam were on track and properly funded.

Officials also hinted at what the selected repair options would be.

Congressman Michael Burgess, whose district includes the dam, hosted the press conference at the Lewisville Lake office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District.

“There has been a problem, but this is a good news story because the problem is getting fixed,” Burgess said. “And as you can see, it requires people of both parties all levels of government to come together and get the problem solved.”

Burgess was joined by Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas, the lone Democrat in the delegation. Congressman Pete Sessions, also of Dallas was present. State representatives and other local officials were also present.

Burgess said that the dam safety modification study (which had been under way for years) was being wrapped up two years earlier than originally planned, and that dirt could begin moving on permanent repairs for the dam’s chronic issues by 2018.

“Things are working; the Congress, which sometimes seems to not move with dispatch, did move with dispatch last December,” Burgess said, referring to the publicity about the dam that occurred around that time.

Originally, the budgeted amount for Lewisville Dam operations and maintenance for FY 2016 was $4 million. An additional $4.7 million was appropriated to handle repairs for the 160-foot-long embankment slide and other issues caused by flooding in 2015.

These amounts resulted in a total operations budget of $8.7 million for the year. The FY 2017 budget calls for $4.6 million for Lewisville Dam.

In late November, the Corps gave notice to proceed on a $6.4 million contract to repair the slide. That work has been under way since the flood waters receded in January, and is expected to be completed this summer.

Fort Worth district commander Colonel Calvin Hudson said that the Corps had identified $10 million in funding to address the slide and other issues caused by the flooding.

“There are risks associated with living near our Texas dams, and we are taking measures to reduce these risks,” Hudson said.

Lewisville Dam is rated as high risk, primarily due to the potential for loss of life and property downstream if it were to fail. Seepage is a problem in several places, and the dam’s spillway area has some stability problems.

“We’ve always stated that we have concerns here at the Lewisville Lake dam, but it is not in imminent danger of failing. We have both short and long term plans to maintain the safety of the dam.”

Hudson said that the dam safety modification study was initiated to address long term risk, and that in March the Corps had tentatively selected a plan to address those problems.

“We plan to initiate a construction project targeted for July, 2018 to address long term issues,” said Hudson. “This is two years earlier than previously planned.”

Hudson said the plan includes:
- A seepage collection system and berm in seepage areas 1 and 2.
- The stabilization of the spillway crest structure with post-tension anchors
- Strengthening the spillway apron slabs
- Additional instrumentation for monitoring long-term performance of the dam.

Slides from a November presentation given by the Corps, and recently made available online, showed some of the DSMS repair alternatives listed with rankings of good, better and best. While the Corps was not able to provide information that LTJ requested prior to press time, the alternatives chosen appear to come from the “better” list.

Corps spokesman Clay Church said that the DSMS is not yet complete, but is expected to be completed later this year.

An environmental impact study will be undertaken to examine the areas affected by the dam repairs prior to construction commencing.

The Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, a 2,000 acre nature preserve on Corps property below the dam is expected to be affected.

Berms built along the dam would require large quantities of soil to be brought in. The Corps expects to excavate that soil from borrow pits, rather than dredge it from the lake. Corps illustrations show three potential borrow sites within LLELA, south of the railroad tracks and north of SH 121 Business.

The preferred borrow site is a 57 acre square abutting the railroad easement. The second and third sites are a 33 acre tract on the north side of McWhorter creek, and a 97 acre tract on the south side.

The exact cost of eventual repairs has not been released, and is likely unknown, but previous estimates have ranged from $50 million on the low end, to several hundred million.

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