The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

 
 

Dam construction 40 percent complete

 

Jason Juno/Daily Globe

MICHIGAN GOV. Rick Snyder, right, and Upper Peninsula Power Company president Charles Cloninger, left, tour construction at Victoria Dam in Rockland Monday. Officials hope to complete the project by Nov. 15.

ROCKLAND — Construction on the Victoria Dam in Ontonagon County is nearly 40 percent complete, according to officials, who are targeting a Nov. 15 finishing date.

Virgil Schlorke, manager of Regional Generation, said the project got off to a slow start because of the poor spring weather, but it has now caught up to projections.

The hydro-electric power generated at Victoria helps meet energy needs of the Upper Peninsula Power Company’s 52,000 customers in 86 communities in 10 of the 15 U.P. counties.

Reconstruction was necessary when the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission said the present dam did not pass requirements concerning overtopping.

To achieve necessary repairs, water at the dam was drawn down by 60 feet to 855 feet and it reached that 855-foot level in the middle of June. At the same time the construction was underway, employees made some concrete repairs.

Fifteen to 30 employees worked on the project at various times during the summer, Schlorke said.

Once the project is completed in November, the water will be refilled in stages over a two- to three-month period until it reaches the 906-foot level.

Because of the major construction, the recreational and access sites at the dam were closed for the entire 2013 season.

—Jan Tucker