Biggest construction project in three decades begins at Bagnell Dam
LAKE OZARK - Residents near Bagnell Dam may have heard some loud construction noises Wednesday morning. Ameren Missouri started phase one of its $52 million dam repair project - the largest, most visible improvement project the dam has seen since its last structural update in the 1980s.
This morning crews started blasting water and scrubbing concrete to remove old, weathered surfaces on the west section of the dam. This noisy process is expected to last a few months, but Director of Hydro Operations Warren Witt says Ameren has made considerations so tourists and residents won’t be inconvenienced throughout the 18-month process.
“With all the tourism on the lake, it should have no impact. We scheduled the construction during the weekdays and during the daytime,” Witt said.
Ameren does not anticipate road closures and the project will not change lake or river water levels.
After the cleaning is completed, workers will drill anchors into the dam along with 66 million added pounds of concrete to secure the dam to the bedrock. The last phase will install drains at ground level.
Witt said the dam remains in sound condition, and the upcoming improvements are steps to make sure the dam continues to stay stable for decades to come.
“The dam is in extremely good shape. It’s very stable. It doesn’t have to be done now, it could be done in a year or two years,” Witt said. “It’s really just to make sure the dam is stable fifty to one hundred years from now.”
The anchors installed in the 1980s have a lifespan of 40 to 50 years until they corrode and can no longer be relied upon.
“Because there’s no definite end of life, we know they are good today based on some testing we’ve done at some other dams,” Witt said.