TVA Schedules Blue Ridge Dam Repair Project
Jan. 8, 2010
BLUE RIDGE, Ga. — TVA will lower water levels on Blue Ridge Reservoir for approximately six months beginning in July for repairs and safety upgrades to Blue Ridge Dam.
The project will bring the 79-year-old facility up to current seismic safety standards. Work will include repair and stabilization of the upstream face of the dam, stabilization of the downstream face of the dam, repairs to the penstock - the large pipe that carries water from the reservoir to the turbines in the dam - and stabilization of the tower on the upstream side of the dam that manages the intake of water.
“These repairs are necessary to continue safe operation of Blue Ridge Dam for flood control, water supply, hydroelectric power generation and recreation, both in the reservoir and in the tail waters around the dam,” said Janet Herrin, TVA senior vice president for river operations. “This project should eliminate the need for future deep drawdowns for periodic inspections and will increase the safety and reliability of the dam at the same time.”
The work will require that the water level in the reservoir be lowered to an elevation range between 1,620 feet and 1,630 feet for approximately six months. This will be about 48 feet below the normal winter pool and 67 feet below the average summer levels. Safe operation of the dam requires the draw down to occur slowly over a period of three to four months beginning in mid-July.
“We understand the inconvenience of the deep drawdown to the residents of Blue Ridge and have chosen a start date that will allow public use of the reservoir through part of the recreation season,” said Wayne Oliver, Blue Ridge Dam rehabilitation project manager. “Lowering the levels during a period of minimum expected runoff should ensure we can maintain the low elevation required for repairs and reduce the risk of construction delays.”
Oliver added that the timing also should allow TVA to take advantage of spring rains in 2011 and more quickly refill the reservoir to normal elevation. Refilling the reservoir will take approximately four to five months, depending on rainfall. TVA expects water levels to most likely return to normal in the late summer of 2011.
TVA will also close Old Georgia Highway 76 over the Blue Ridge Dam starting in mid-July for the duration of construction. This is to ensure the safety of the public and workers at the site, where large equipment will be used and materials stored. Road repairs will be made to the highway before it reopens at the completion of the project, scheduled for the end of September 2012. Alternate traffic routes will be determined by state and local authorities.
Blue Ridge Dam, located in Fannin County, was completed in 1931 by Tennessee Electric Power Company and was acquired by TVA in 1939. It is 175 feet high, 950 feet wide and stretches 1,000 feet across the Toccoa River.
TVA is the nation’s largest public power provider and is completely self-financing. TVA provides power to large industries and 157 power distributors that serve approximately 9 million consumers in seven southeastern states. TVA also creates economic development opportunities and manages the Tennessee River and its tributaries to provide multiple benefits, including flood damage reduction, navigation, water quality and recreation.
TVA News Bureau, Knoxville (865) 632-6000