Lewisville gets dam money in president’s budget for FY 2019

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An access road leads down the upstream side of the Lewisville Lake dam from just east of the flood gates. (Photo by Christina Ulsh)

UPDATE: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager Stacy Gray says the $55 million appropriated in this budget is enough to cover phase one of the dam repair project, all the way from design to construction. She said the dam repairs will take place over three to four contracts, costing roughly $150 million total.

These repairs will specifically address seepage concerns on the embankment. Gray said the next step will be to address the stability of the spillway on the East side of the dam.

The USACE cannot move forward without these appropriations. If the federal budget they are attached to gets held up, then nothing will happen. However, Gray said there is a good chance ground will be broken if the appropriations pass in the budget. She also said civil funds do not expire, so they will have the money for as long as it takes to get the project done.

Spokesman Clay Church stressed that though the dam does need to be repaired, it still continues to function properly.

Original story: Lewisville Dam, in need of significant repair, may be getting funding for it from the federal government. The federal budget proposal released yesterday includes a request for $55 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repair the dam. This is among the 10 highest funded projects of the 26 construction projects for the 2019 fiscal year.

Last year, the Fort Worth district of the corps found no significant environmental impact for a safety modification project to Lewisville Dam. The project would aim to minimize the potential of the dam’s failure due to seepage and stability deficiencies. The corps had found that the probability of the dam failing was minimal, but the consequences would be catastrophic.

Finished in 1955, Lewisville Dam has prevented $31.2 billion in flooding damage over its lifetime, including $2.4 billion in 2015 alone. The Lewisville Texan Journal has not seen a publically released price for the repairs. It is currently unclear if $55 million would be the total cost for the repairs, or if it would be the first in a series of yearly installments.

The Corps’ budget is a component of the president’s budget, which will be presented to Congress and is subject to as much uncertainty as any other federal bill, though local members of Congress such as Michael Burgess have said they would support funding for the dam in the past.

The timing of the dam repairs is important to Lewisville because it affects projects in Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning area, such as the proposed $20 million nature center, road improvements, and waterline replacements.

The Lewisville Texan Journal has reached out to the national Army Corps of Engineers office as well as the Fort Worth office, but phone lines were out Tuesday due to a fiber cut.

We will update this story as more information becomes available.

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