KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WATE) — The Boone Dam Public Recreation Area, a historic recreation center in the Tri-Cities region, has reopened ahead of Memorial Day weekend after a seven-year, $326 million repair project.
In 2014, TVA discovered a sinkhole near the base of the embankment at Boone Dam, and water and sediment were found seeping from the riverbank below, according to the TVA’s website. The water levels were lowered about 10 feet below winter pool levels for public safety.
TVA initiated the process of rebuilding the dam in 2015 and used $326 million to construct a composite seepage barrier to create a highly visible, two-year, round-the-clock underground cutoff wall.
After completing the underground work, TVA restored the dam’s crest and constructed a floodwall.
“Boone Lake is a local treasure, and I want to thank everyone for their patience as we completed the important dam safety work,” TVA Chief Operating Officer Don Moul said. “The recreation area provides the community with opportunities for summer fun – and the improvements we made will enhance the experience for our neighbors.”
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the community celebrated the re-opening Wednesday during an event to view the final project. TVA also recognized the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Association (TWRA), Boone Lake Association and Boone Dam Repair Coalition for the environmental and community outreach work during the project.
“TVA has delivered on its promise to the Tri-Cities region,” he said. “At the onset of this project, we made a commitment that we would complete this effort safely within seven years and we would do it right the first time with a high-quality repair. We are here today to celebrate that accomplishment and to turn over Boone Dam back to the public.”
Boone Lake began gaining volume in late February and will eventually rise to its normal peak level of 1,382 feet. A TVA release said the only factor that could impact projected level would be a lack of rainfall.
Energy generation from Boone Unit 1 will also return to normal operations for community members who want to enjoy recreational activities.