There is a “high probability” the level of Lake Cumberland may rise 20 feet this summer!
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a statement embargoed until 8 a.m. Friday said the Wolf Creek Dam Remediation Project is ahead of schedule and the Corps is now making plans to raise the water level this summer.
Don Getty, project manager, told the Commonwealth Journal current projections are to have the lake between 700 and 705 feet above sea level for the upcoming vacation season. This is about halfway to the historical 723 feet, or tree line, he noted.
“It’s not an absolute,” said Getty. “There is still a risk ... but a high probability that we can raise the lake about 20 feet this summer.” He said there are a “lot more risks” in the level between 705 and 723 that the first 20 feet.
“Our goal is to have the lake at the historical 723 feet above sea level by summer 2014,” Getty said. “There are still a lot of concerns ... a lot of unknowns,” he added.
Congressman Hal Rogers was pleased with the news.
“Lt. Col. James DeLapp personally called me Thursday with wonderful news that construction at Wolf Creek Dam is ahead of schedule, meaning the crown jewel of Southern Kentucky will be ready for the summer tourism season,” Rogers said. “Our marinas, local businesses, and local lake enthusiasts have been patient, suffering business lows due to the low pool levels at Lake Cumberland and continuous delays in construction at the dam.
“However, I commend Lt. Col. DeLapp for bringing a renewed vigor to this project over the last year and understanding that Wolf Creek Dam is a national priority,” Rogers added. “Now it’s time to spread the word, Lake Cumberland is open for business.”
Lake Cumberland has been held as nearly as a possible to 680 feet, or about 40 feet below normal, since January 2007. The lower level relieved pressure on the mile-long structure during the remediation work made necessary because the dam was in “high risk” of failure.