Boone Dam set to reopen in 2022


SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - When construction to stop seepage at Boone Dam started two years ago, the TVA said it was going to take five to seven years to complete.

Now, TVA officials say the project most likely will not be finished until the latter part of that timeline-- meaning 2022.

Crews are currently working on phase three of the project: installing berms.

Berms are described as large piles of rocks.

"Today we've got most of the foundation for the cutoff wall prepped and ready to go, we still have a little bit of work to do on that. We completed the designs for the berms, both upstream and downstream." Explained David Bowling, the TVA's Vice President of land and river management.

Phase one started two years ago in 2015.

That involved data analysis of the dam's situation. Then the next phase was filling in new grout-- which acts as a seepage barrier.

Half of that filling is described as having the thickness of toothpaste, while the other half is liquid like chocolate milk, to make sure nothing gets by. Once the berms are in place, a larger cutoff wall will be created.

This phase of work will be noticeable in the coming months.

"In August, you'll see a lot more construction traffic at Boone Dam. We're going to bring in approximately 250,000 tons of stones to construct berms upstream and downstream." Said Sam Bison, the Principle Manager for the Boone Dam remediation project.

While those who frequent the dam may be disappointed the construction is leaning towards the longer side of the timeline, project managers want them to know that this is for the safety of all. "Our primary commitment, our driver on the whole project, is to ensure the downstream safety for the folks in Kingsport and the folks that live downstream of the dam... Whatever we can do to improve that schedule in that calendar year 2022 completion date, we're going to pull those things forward and do them in order to return the lake to normal as soon as possible." Said Bowling.

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