Lower Colorado River Authority Begins Major Improvement Project at Dam

The Lower Colorado River Authority is beginning a $76 million, three-year project to remove and replace the 10 floodgates at Wirtz Dam in Texas to help ensure the dam continues to operate safely and reliably, LCRA said on Jan. 18.

The dam, which creates Lake LBJ, was completed in 1951. The dam has nine original floodgates and a 10th floodgate that was added when the original Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant was constructed in 1974.

Each floodgate will be removed and replaced with a new custom-made floodgate that meets current engineering standards. The work will be conducted on one floodgate at a time to help ensure the dam remains operational and available to pass floodwaters downstream.

Work on each floodgate is expected to take about two months, with the entire project expected to be completed in 2025.

Since fiscal year 2010, LCRA has invested more than $134 million in capital projects at the dams along the Highland Lakes, Lake Bastrop and Lake Fayette, including on the dams themselves and related hydroelectric generation infrastructure. LCRA plans to invest more than $107 million in these types of projects over the next five years.

In addition to replacing the floodgates, LCRA will upgrade the machinery that lifts the floodgates, called hoists. Two hoists will be replaced and eight will be refurbished. LCRA also will replace the existing hoist bridge.

Construction crews preparing the laydown yard will be in the area beginning in late January. Heavy equipment is expected to begin arriving in mid-February. Installation of the first floodgate is planned to begin in April.

Read more about the project at