TVA gives update on Boone Dam repair project & Boone Lake levels

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Tennessee Valley Authority officials gave News Channel 11 a look at the progress of the Boone Dam on Friday. 

“We’ve had over one million man hours on site,” said Principal Project Manager Sam Vinson, “so when we say on site, we’re talking boots on the ground inside of the boundaries of this site.”

Crews are working to install a cut off wall that should be completed by spring of 2021.

The wall will be the final, major underground piece built to stop internal erosion of the dam’s embankment.

Once crews, finish the wall, they’ll then begin a period of testing phases before the final refill.

“We need that period of performance to assess the repairs we’ve made and to make sure that everything is working as we expected it to and that the instruments are online and recording,” said Vinson. “You would expect that the refill would be no more than two feet a week at periods.”

As certain projects in the dam’s remediation are completed, existing infrastructure will also be removed.

However, the newly installed boat ramps will stay and be used for future use.

“The new ramps that we put in have had a really positive impact for the public,” said Vinson.

More than 600 acres of targeted vegetation in high traffic areas of the lake are now more than 50% mulched.

“We really think we’ll be done with the mulching of the first pass,” said Vinson, “we should be done by this fall, most likely by October.”

“All of our major lakes, like the big one’s, South Holston, Wataugua,” said TVA River Forecast Center Manager James Everett, “are at summer pool levels.”

Everett said recreation is a full go on many of the affected lakes.

However, Boone Lake levels are operating around 1,350-1,355 in elevation because of the current project.

That’s lower than the normal winter water levels.

“What we’ll do on Boone is try to keep a little bit more in the pool,” he said, “try to stay closer to the end of the 1350-1355 range to allow a little more access to boat ramps and marinas and things like that.”

TVA estimates it will wrap up repairs in the year 2022.

More than three years ago, TVA announced a multi-year project to lower Boone Lake and repair seepage problems on Boone Dam’s emankment. 

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