Frequently Asked Questions
Will the level of the lake be dropped to work on the hydro project?
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will be the controlling agency over the water level of the reservoir and the release of water from the reservoir. The reservoir’s primary purpose is to manage flood control. That will not change. The same guidelines currently used by the USACE to control river flow and reservoir elevation will remain in place during and after construction.
Once RRHP is complete will they flood us out downstream while it is operating?
The same guidelines currently used by the USACE to control river flow and reservoir elevation will remain in place during and after construction.
How long will the road over the dam be closed?
Since the start of the construction phase there has been a lane closure of the south-bound lane of Highway T-15 during the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday. At some point after Labor Day 2014, there will be a 10 to 12 week closure scheduled for the installation of a cutoff wall in the center of Highway T-15. Once this phase of the project is completed, the road will remain open except for some periodic, short-term lane closures.
Will there be tours once the plant is built?
During construction tours on the site will not be available. Tours of RRHP are still in the planning phase for when the plant is operational in 2018 and beyond. The dam’s security is of the highest priority, and plant staffing and operational schedule are being considered to develop a tour schedule that will accommodate as many as possible.
Will the bike trail be closed?
Public safety is of utmost concern to MRES and its contractors, so it is necessary to close sections of the trail for the duration of the project. Due to the size of this project and the small amount of open area in the vicinity of the power house and intake structures, it is necessary to use some of the grassy areas between 216th Place and 198th Place as equipment storage areas for the project. Trucks and other heavy equipment will be crossing the section of bike trail from Howell Station campground to the North Overlook on a daily basis.
Prior to starting construction, MRES added new recreation facilities so that area residents and visitors will have additional opportunities to enjoy the Red Rock area during and after the construction of RRHP. MRES expanded the Volksweg Trail 1.25 miles from the Fifield Recreation Area to the new Robert’s Creek Trailhead.
Can we still fish in the North Tailwater area?
In the interest of public safety the entire North Tailwater area will be closed to the public for the duration of RRHP’s construction phase, which is currently scheduled to last four years. This includes vehicle, foot, and biking traffic. Prior to starting construction, MRES improved the South Tailwater recreation area with an additional fish cleaning station, playground/sandbox, picnic shelter and additional parking spaces.
Is noise a problem during construction?
Most of the construction work will be conducted between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday-Friday. There will be some pile-driving operations that will produce a methodical thumping sound. Local residents also will hear the drone of the diesel engines on the cranes, excavators, and dozers that are common around large construction sites.
Will RRHP be noisy?
The noise from the power house during operation will be lower than the sound of the water currently being discharged from the dam.
Will the river channel be dredged?
No. The project will not affect the river channel depth.
Will the plant continue to run when there is a high demand for power and the lake level is low?
During construction and once RRHP is operational, the USACE will be the controlling agency over the water level of the reservoir and the release of water from the reservoir. The reservoir’s primary purpose is to manage flood control. The same guidelines currently used by the USACE to control river flow and reservoir elevation will remain in place during and after construction. The less water the USACE releases, the less electricity will be generated. If minimal releases are planned by the USACE due to low lake levels, the plant will not operate until adequate releases are resumed.
Will the construction phase close down the campgrounds? (North Overlook & Howell Station)
During construction both the Howell Station and North Overlook campgrounds will remain operational per the current mode of operation. There will be increased traffic on 198th Place, 216th Place, and T-15 due to construction, so please be aware of the traffic on the roads.
Is there construction traffic?
Yes. During construction there will be additional traffic. It will require heavy equipment, including graders, bulldozers, concrete trucks, flatbed trucks, and large cranes. Construction equipment is similar to farm equipment—it is large and moves slowly. The contractor will have flaggers and extra signage so follow the direction of the flaggers.