LCRA replacing Tom Miller Dam floodgates


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Starting next week, the Lower Colorado River Authority will be removing and replacing each of the nine floodgates at Tom Miller Dam in central Austin.

The project is expected to last 18 months and cost $9.9 million. The floodgates being replaced are the original floodgates installed during construction of the dam nearly 80 years ago.

The LCRA says the dam will remain operational in case of flooding and for water supply needs. One by one, floodgates will be removed and each one will take about six weeks to replace. 

“In this particular instance, we’ll install a stoplog and then remove the old gate. [We will] take it off so it can be recycled and bringing the new gate over that will be partially assembled, we will finish the assembly and install the new gate,” said John Hofmann, executive vice president of water at LCRA. 

This comes after meeting with an engineering firm in 2007, who recommended changes be made to the floodgates by 2020. However, Hofmann says they have maintained the floodgates to meet current standards and adds this will only ensure the dam’s continued safety. 

During construction, buoys along the dam will be moved 200 feet upstream to keep boaters safe. There will be two barges in operation: one to transport the floodgates and the other will be used for construction purposes and will call the area home.

It’s something customers at Hula Hut say they understand needs to be done, but worry about.

“If you come here just to see that kind of view and suddenly you don’t have that view anymore, maybe I’ll go somewhere else,” said Miguel Galicia, a customer.

However, those at Hula Hut have a solution. 

“The view looks good going the opposite way too,” said Elias Chocalas smiling, the assistant general manager at Hula Hut.

And, if construction gets too loud, Chocalas has a solution for that, too.

“We’ll crank up the music,” he said. “I guess we will just roll with the punches and see how bad it gets.”

Construction will only take place Monday through Saturday during the day between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. and they do not have plans to work on Sundays. 

LCRA says transportation of goods via the roadway will be scheduled for before 7 a.m., Monday
through Thursday along MoPac and Lake Austin Boulevard. They plan to transport items before morning rush hour traffic. 

LCRA says they have opened up to five floodgates at once. It’s happened twice — once during Tropical Storm Hermine in September 2010 and during the Halloween flood in October 2013.

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