Polk approves phase I & II of Turner Shoals Dam repairs

Published 10:34 pm Monday, February 29, 2016

NEWSp1 LakeAdgerDam

By Leah Justice


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Commissioners met with county engineer Dave Odom, who said the next step after a study done last year is to complete a stability analysis. After the evaluation, a design can be done to do repairs. The county is only required at this point to complete the comprehensive study only, but commissioners decided to go ahead and award both the study and the design.

Commissioner Shane Bradley asked if the contract would be to satisfy the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and to keep the county on schedule. Odom said that is correct.

Commissioner chair Tom Pack said the stability analysis will be complete by Dec. 1 and the design will be required 180 days after the completion of the first phase, so the county is looking at mid-2017 before AECOM produces a design.

During citizen comments, Dennis Hill asked who is representing the county to understand the conditions. He suggested citizens in the community could volunteer who may have some technical background to provide commissioners with their input.

Commissioner Ray Gasperson said he liked Hill’s suggestion and it would be great if the county could ever see volunteers to oversee the project, but said he was voting in favor because he thinks the county needs to move forward with the project.

Polk has been saving money every year to do required repairs to the dam. For a few years the county saved $200,000 per year, but in the last couple fiscal years the county has saved approximately $50,000 per year. Commissioners also approved a budget amendment to transfer reserve funds from its capital reserve fund to the water capital project fund for the stability analysis, dam modification preparation and permitting.

The Turner Shoals Hydropower facility is located on the Green River, a tributary of the Broad River in Polk County, approximately two miles northwest of Mill Spring. The facility was constructed by the Blue Ridge Power Company and began operation in 1925. The water shed extends from the North Carolina-South Carolina border to the south to Turner Shoals Reservoir or Lake Adger to the northeast, according to the AECOM contract. Turner Shoals is located downstream from the Tuxedo Hydropower plant. Turner Shoals Dam is owned and operated by Polk County. The dam was previously operated by Northbrook Power Management LLC until Polk County purchased the lake and dam in 2008 for $1.6 million.