Commonwealth Journal

Local News

September 28, 2007

Rogers: Lake to rise up to 10 feet by summer

Somerset — Congressman Hal Rogers had some good news for all of the Lake Cumberland area yesterday — especially those who count on tourism dollars to get by.

Rogers announced that Lake Cumberland will be raised by as much as 10 feet above current levels in advance of next summer’s tourism season.

“I met with the Corps of Engineers leadership yesterday, and I'm pleased to announce that the largest lake east of the Mississippi is on its way to normal water levels,” said Rogers. “Our tourism community pulled together and exceeded visitor expectations this summer, and their jobs will be a little easier next summer.

Rogers said the Army Corps of Engineers decision “comes as structural repairs on Wolf Creek Dam are on track to support incrementally higher water levels.”

“I’ve been pressuring the Corps hard ... and they’ve been working hard,” Rogers added. “Everyone knows how we’ve been impacted here above the dam. Of course, we’re not the only folks impacted — the safety of those beneath the dam have to be considered first and foremost.”

The Corps is working on a $309 million, five-year construction project that will address dam leakage problems that go back four decades. Lake Cumberland is at 680 feet — a drop of 43 feet from normal levels. Repairs include installing a new concrete diaphragm that will alleviate the porous foundation the dam was originally built on.

“The Corps will make a final determination of the exact water level in early 2008 as Wolf Creek Dam repairs continue and structural test data is analyzed,” Rogers said. “Based on current progress, indications are that the lake will be raised up to 10 feet this spring. I’d like it to be more — but it’s definitely a start.”

Rogers has secured $98 million for dam repairs this year. The Somerset congressman said he is monitoring the situation “at the top levels of the Corps of Engineers to ensure they have all the resources needed to complete the project as soon as possible.”

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