TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) — As of Tuesday, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) said COVID-19 has not affected the underground repair portion of the Boone Dam Project.
It remains on schedule to be completed by May 2021. A series of testing phases will immediately take place.
TVA is undergoing the bulk of its repair project: building a cut-off wall.
TVA Principal Project Manager Sam Vinson said crews have completed 154 secant elements for the wall, to stop water flow under the dam by May 2021.
“We had 307 planned and so that’s about half of that total. “We also have 53 that are in some stage of progress. That could be drilling through the soil, drilling through the rock, going through the cleaning checks prior to casting concrete and/or ready to cast concrete,” TVA Principal project manager Sam Vinson said.
TVA will then start working on refilling Boone Lake.
Vinson said, “If you go back five years ago, we cut 10 feet off the top of the dam to give us more working area and we have to raise that height back up once we’re done with the wall.”
The TVA Dam Safety team will test the reservoir water levels for any fluctuations.
“No more than 2 feet a week would be the raise. I’m sure we’ll have some checkpoints along the way, where we’ll stop and hold it for a period of time,” Vinson said.
During normal operations, TVA will lower pool levels in the summer to about 1350 feet to 1355 feet. The winter pool levels are about 10 feet above this.
Vinson said, “This is about the time we start putting the site back as it was before the project. That’s everything from putting the beach back, the public restrooms back, taking out infrastruture that we have put in.”
Because the property around Boone Lake is privately owned, TVA has created a Supplemental Vegetation Management Outreach program for homeowners to have their vegetation mulched.
“The 650 acres we mulched last year, rebounded so quickly that we’re mulching some of it again,” Vinson said, “Between herbicide and mulching during the two-year period, we’re touching about 2,00 acres and there’s only about 1400 out there.”
Anyone who lives around Boone Lake and would like to have vegetation mulch is asked to make a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tennessee Valley Authority said another update will be given in October of this year. Normal operation of Boone Lake is expected to begin in July of 2022, which fits TVA’s 5 to 7-year projection for this project.
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