Blue Ridge Dam Rehabilitation
To help ensure public safety and meet more rigorous dam safety standards, TVA is rehabilitating Blue Ridge Dam. TVA's efforts are focused on identifying and correcting potential issues to avoid future dam concerns for the surrounding communities.
Current Status (Updated March 1, 2013)
Due to ongoing progress on the Blue Ridge Dam rehabilitation project, TVA has returned Blue Ridge Reservoir to its normal operations, which currently calls for spring filling of the reservoir as rain and runoff permit. TVA will be following the Blue Ridge operating guide located online or available through the TVA Lake Info smartphone app (for iPhone and Android devices).
Work is continuing on a construction project to reinforce the downstream base of the dam. The project will improve static stability for the dam.
This project plan includes the following three elements:
- Building a wall at the base of the dam near the powerhouse
- Adding rock buttress to put more weight at bottom of dam
- Installing dewatering wells to reduce pressure inside the core of the dam
During construction, anyone walking or driving near the dam is urged to use caution because of possible activity and equipment movement.
An additional project to address long-term seismic stability for the dam will occur at a future date. However, TVA's current focus is completing the static stability project.
Three major components of TVA’s Blue Ridge Dam rehabilitation project have been completed successfully:
- Installing a new liner in the main penstock (the underwater pipe that carries water from the reservoir to the turbines in the powerhouse), which was damaged when the reservoir was refilled after construction in 1931
- Stabilizing the intake tower at its base
- Stabilizing the upstream face of the dam
TVA has successfully repaired the main penstock pipe. The new penstock liner should eliminate the need for deep drawdowns that formerly were required every five years to inspect the penstock.
Work to stabilize the dam’s intake tower included installing anchors in the structure. This portion of the rehabilitation also is complete.