After completing an almost two-year project of replacing floodgates at Tom Miller Dam in Austin, the Lower Colorado River Authority has set its sights on Highland Lakes dams.
“LCRA has ongoing maintenance and rehabilitation projects underway at Buchanan and Starcke dams, and we are developing plans for a rehab project at Wirtz Dam,” according to LCRA spokeswoman Clara Tuma.
Since 2010, the LCRA has invested $110 million in capital projects along the Highland Lakes, Lake Bastrop, and Lake Fayette. The $10.8 million floodgate project at Tom Miller Dam is part of the investment. It is now planning to invest another $64 million over the next five years in dam rehabilitation and maintenance.
The LCRA manages the Highland Lakes and the dams that make up the chain. Max Stracke Dam creates Lake Marble Falls; Wirtz Dam forms Lake LBJ; Buchanan Dam forms Lake Buchanan; and Inks Dam creates Inks Lake.
To the southeast, Mansfield Dam forms Lake Travis and Tom Miller Dam creates Lake Austin.
For the Tom Miller Dam project, the LCRA replaced the nine original floodgates built in the 1930s with “new custom-made floodgates that meet today’s engineering standards.”
“We undertook this project to help ensure we can continue operating the dam safely and reliably for generations to come,” said LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson. “This was a complex project, just as it was to build the dam some 80 years ago. To remove and replace each floodgate at a working dam was no easy task, especially when the dam is in the middle of Flash Flood Alley and needs to remain operational throughout the project.”
The old flood gates will be recycled, according to the LCRA.