Lake Blue Ridge Dam Repairs Underway

Lake Blue Ridge Dam Repairs Underway

 Blue Ridge, GA
Economic Development - Dam- Jacob Long

The summer months have been been busier than ever in Georgia’s Blue Ridge and school is starting back much too soon. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Valley Authority has started to draw down Lake Blue Ridge for repairs to the penstock and rehabilitation of the dam, a project which will take one year for the lake side and another for the Toccoa River side of the dam.  Old Highway 76 over the dam has been closed for the duration.

When it comes to the Lake Blue Ridge dam rehabilitation, there’s bad news and good news. The bad news is we lose our lake for about one year, and access over the dam for two years. Good news is the dam will be safer and once we get the lake back, we won’t lose it every five years for deep drawdowns.

The lake drawdown has record numbers of visitors tubing the Toccoa River in the brisk, fast moving waters created as TVA withdraws water from Lake Blue Ridge at record speed. It is expected that the water will continue to be drawn down 24-hours every day until about the middle of August, when withdrawals will be reduced from seven feet per week to three feet per week. Meanwhile, trout fishing is best in areas above the dam in the higher elevations. Lake Blue Ridge is still open for fishing and all of our boat ramps are still accessible at this time.

Although people are still swimming at Morganton Point, every day, as the water recedes, the hike to the water’s edge gets longer and longer. As of August 1, Old Highway 76 over the Lake Blue Ridge dam has been closed and will remain so until the repair of the penstock and the dam is complete about two years from now. TVA hopes to complete work on the penstock and dam rehabilitation on the lake side by Spring 2011; the refill will depend on the rain. For current lake elevations and release times, see the TVA website.

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