Chelan PUD is preparing for a maintenance project at Tumwater Dam Sept. 5 through mid-December. The work involves repairing and reinforcing the dam’s apron – a section of concrete that sits just downstream of the dam – with new concrete to prevent undercutting of the structure.
The viewing area at Tumwater Dam will close Sept. 5. Construction crews will allow portage around the job site for whitewater rafters as needed.
Starting in mid-October, drivers on Highway 2 through Tumwater Canyon can expect intermittent, short delays with flagger-directed traffic on weekdays. In September, an unrelated, guardrail replacement project led by Washington State Department of Transportation will also impact traffic through Tumwater Canyon.
This is the second part of a multi-year maintenance plan for Tumwater Dam. In 2020, the PUD reinforced the entrance of the fishway with concrete. The work is required to continue to meet dam safety standards regulated by the state Department of Ecology.
The project includes measures to protect fish passage during construction.
The fishway at Tumwater Dam is instrumental in helping Chelan PUD to collect adult fish to meet its hatchery obligations under its Habitat Conservation Plans for Rocky Reach and Rock Island hydro projects. It is also an important site for fish study for several agencies, including Yakama Nation Fisheries, Washington State Fish and Wildlife and Grant PUD.
Tumwater Dam was originally constructed at the turn of the century to provide clean energy for trains travelling through the long tunnel at Stevens Pass. Chelan PUD acquired the dam in the 1950s and rebuilt the fishway in its current configuration in the late 1980s.
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