Reclamation Announces Traffic Delays and Closures During Overhead Line Construction at Grand Coulee Dam

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212
Lynne Brougher, (509) 633-9503

For Release: February 21, 2012

The Bureau of Reclamation is advising motorists and visitors to Grand Coulee Dam to anticipate traffic delays on Highway 155 and closures of adjacent facilities while the Bonneville Power Administration prepares to remove overhead transmission lines.

The overhead lines cross Highway 155, the Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center, and the Lower Visitor Center Park. To ensure public safety, traffic delays and the closure of the visitor center and park will be required. Starting Feb. 23, helicopter crews will take part in classroom and possible flight training in the area to prepare for the removal of the overhead lines. Helicopters will be utilized from Feb. 27 to March 24 to remove the overhead lines from the Third Power Plant.

"We want people to be aware that they will see and hear helicopter traffic around Grand Coulee Dam for the next four weeks as the overhead lines are removed," said Lynne Brougher, Grand Coulee Power Office Public Affairs Officer.

From March 12 to March 24, motorists should anticipate traffic delays of 5 to 10 minutes on Highway 155 as flaggers guide drivers through the construction zone and warning signs will be posted. Construction will last about 10 hours a day Monday through Saturday from 6:30 am - 5:00 pm. Construction on Sunday will occur if it is considered necessary.

The Lower Visitor Center Park will also be closed from February 26 to April 14 to accommodate the removal of two high voltage towers located in the park.

The Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center will also close from March 12 to March 17. The visitor center operations will be moved to the Magnetometer Building located on the west side of the Columbia River in the town of Coulee Dam.

For further information, please call (509) 633-9503.

Background: Plans call for installing new 500-kilovolt overhead transmission lines and constructing six high voltage towers by the end of 2012. The new lines will ensure continued safe and reliable transmission of power from the Third Power Plant to BPA's power grid.

Grand Coulee Dam, completed in 1941, includes 33 generators, a pumping plant and three switchyards making it the largest hydroelectric power producer the U.S. The Project also provides irrigation water to about 600,000 acres in the Columbia Basin Project.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.