Spillway Modifications Planned at Canyon Ferry Dam

Media Contact: Todd Dixon, (406) 247-7300
Mark Andersen, (406) 247-7610

For Release: November 03, 2004

The Bureau of Reclamation is initiating a project to modify the spillway at Canyon Ferry Dam near Helena, Mont., according to Montana Area Manager Dan Jewell. Jewell said modifications are necessary to modernize the 50-year-old dam's spillway gates and piers to meet contemporary design and construction standards.

As part of Reclamation's dam safety program, inspections are periodically conducted at the agency's dams. The most recent inspections and technical analyses at Canyon Ferry Dam identified a need to modify the gates and piers to enhance their ability to withstand a significant earthquake. Reclamation officials emphasize there is no immediate danger at the dam and, while the probability of a large earthquake is very remote, it is prudent to make the modifications. Reclamation will be developing alternatives to strengthen the spillway gates and piers in the next several months, with actual construction to start in the next three to four years.

A public meeting will be held sometime in December to answer questions about the modifications and to provide an overview of the process leading to actual construction. Details on the time, date, and location of the public meeting will be provided in the near future.

Canyon Ferry Dam is a 225-foot high concrete gravity dam impounding waters of the Missouri River. The dam has four large spillway gates at the top of the dam, each about 51 feet wide and 34 feet high. Construction of the dam began in 1949 and was completed in 1954. Authorized project purposes include irrigation, power generation, flood control, recreation and municipal water supply.

Questions concerning the modifications should be directed to Mr. Todd Dixon of the Bureau of Reclamation at (406) 247-7300.

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