Fishermen have not been able to access the high wingwalls below Garrison Dam this summer. Visitors to the west side of the Tailrace have not been able to park their vehicles to take advantage of a picturesque view of the Missouri River. The reason why is that the West Tailrace Road serving the area has been closed for repairs.
"We're hoping to get it done this fall. Oct. 1 is the estimated completion date," said David Beck, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Pavement on the West Tailrace Road had begun to deteriorate prior to the flood year of 2011 which resulted in a vast amount of water being released through the Garrison Dam tunnels. The water pushed through the tunnels and into the Tailrace with enough force to damage rock rip-rap along the Tailrace.
Additional rip-rap was hauled into the Tailrace on large trucks utilizing the West Tailrace Road. The roadway took a pounding under a constant flow of heavy traffic. Much of the asphalt was broken up and replaced by large potholes. The Corps of Engineers determined that the entire roadway was in need of repair.
"We went in and milled the existing asphalt and replaced culverts," said Beck. "Now we are laying down gravel and will place a three-inch overlay of asphalt on top of the gravel surface."
The new roadway is utilizing the existing two-lane road bed, meaning that it will be the same width as it was previously. When finished, visitors will once again be able to access the west side of the Tailrace.
In addition to the West Tailrace Road project construction crews are also doing concrete repairs to the Garrison Dam Spillway and painting and rehabbing the spillway gates.
"We should have the spillway slab concrete work this fall," said Beck. "The gate work should be finished in 2015."