Completion of Thurmond Dam project ends one-way traffic

Contractors have completed a 2½-year renovation to Thurmond Dam that reduced traffic along U.S. Highway 221 to one lane.


Repairs to the dam’s 23 spillway gates began in February 2010, when contractors installed a traffic light along the top of the mile-long dam.

Workers finished last week and are returning the area to its previous state.

“They’re re-striping the road Monday, weather permitting, but otherwise the equipment is gone, and the road over the dam is open with two lanes of traffic again,” said Scott Hyatt, the lake’s project operations manager.

The project included welds financed by $3.9 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding, but was later expanded to address corrosion and rust on the lifting mechanisms in some of the gates, raising the cost to $6.2 million.

Because of the construction, lake levels were to be kept 2 feet below full pool – at 328 feet above sea level instead of 330.

Because of the extended drought, though, the reservoir has remained lower than full pool and continues to recede.

Thursday’s pool level was 320.13, or more than 9 feet below full. Projections indicate the level could fall below 316 by early September unless there is adequate rainfall.