FOXHOLM Scheduled maintenance was conducted at Lake Darling Dam Wednesday. Work is expected to be completed by late afternoon today and the roadway over Lake Darling Dam will reopen for traffic.
The roadway was closed Wednesday to make way for a large crane and several workers.
The crane was necessary to move large bulkheads into place to block water from passing through the gates at Lake Darling Dam while engineers conducted a regularly scheduled inspection. According to Tom Pabian, Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge manager, inspection of the first four tainter gates at the dam revealed no problems.
A crane lowers a bulkhead into position at Lake Darling Dam Wednesday. Bulkheads were used to block water from flowing downstream while engineers conducted an inspection of the gates.
"The engineers said all the gates were functioning as they should," said Pabian. "There was no erosion or anything out of the ordinary. They checked the concrete, the condition of the gates and for corrosion. Everything was as expected or better than expected."
The last major inspection of the Lake Darling Dam gates occurred in 1999, making this year's inspection the first of its kind since the flood of 2011. During that flood the gates were opened from seven to seven and a half feet. With the bulkheads lowered into place Wednesday, engineers were able to open the gates to their full 15-foot level and conduct a thorough inspection.
"We were able to raise the gates to the fullest extent possible without any water flowing downstream," explained Pabian. "This is part of the periodic inspection process for the dam."
When the process of using steel bulkheads to block water flow is conducted on the fifth and final gate today, the bulkheads will be placed into storage until they are needed for a future inspection or maintenance. The large crane used to move the bulkheads will removed from the roadway and normal traffic will resume.