LCRA completes major floodgate project at Tom Miller Dam in Austin
Project replaced the dam’s original floodgates to help keep dam operating safely, reliably
Nov. 13, 2020
AUSTIN, Texas – The Lower Colorado River Authority has completed a nearly two-year project to replace each of the floodgates at Tom Miller Dam in Austin with new custom-made floodgates that meet today’s engineering standards.
The new floodgates replace the dam’s original gates, which were installed during construction of the dam in the late 1930s.
“We undertook this project to help ensure we can continue operating the dam safely and reliably for generations to come,” said Phil Wilson, LCRA general manager. “This was a complex project, just as it was to build the dam some 80 years ago. To remove and replace each floodgate at a working dam was no easy task, especially when the dam is in the middle of Flash Flood Alley and needs to remain operational throughout the project.
“This project was important to help maintain the integrity and operability of our critical dam infrastructure,” Wilson said. “I’m proud to say we completed the project safely.”
The $10.8 million project continues LCRA’s long-standing commitment to public safety. Since fiscal year 2010, LCRA has invested more than $110 million in capital projects along the Highland Lakes, Lake Bastrop and Lake Fayette. LCRA plans to invest about $64 million more in dam rehabilitation and maintenance over the next five years.
During the 22-month construction effort, Tom Miller Dam’s nine floodgates – each weighing between 40,000 and 55,000 pounds – were disassembled one at a time and placed in sections on a transport barge to be taken off the lake safely for recycling. The new floodgates were fabricated in sections in Michigan, then assembled on-site at the dam and installed.
Tom Miller Dam, which creates Lake Austin, has nine floodgates, but the most ever opened at one time is five. This happened twice – during Tropical Storm Hermine in September 2010 and the Halloween flood in October 2013.
LCRA built the dam on property owned by the City of Austin. LCRA operates and maintains the dam under a long-term lease with the city for the benefit of Austin and the people of Central Texas.
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations. For more information, visit lcra.org.