ST. PAUL — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers St. Paul District will begin rehabilitation of its Big Sandy Lake Dam, near McGregor.

The contractor, Kaiyuh Services, LLC, out of Anchorage, Alaska, began staging materials and equipment in preparation for construction about two weeks ago and anticipates construction will start this week. Rehabilitation work is planned throughout 2021 and should be complete by the end of next winter.

Construction activities included in the $5.3 million contract include replacing the deteriorating concrete wall in the lock chamber with removable steel panels, installation of a new mechanically-operated slide gate in the log sluice, replacement of the six existing slide gates, concrete repairs along the upstream face of the dam and various electrical updates to modernize operations and support mechanical operation of the six slide gates and log sluice gate.

“The St. Paul District is committed to ensuring continuous safe operation of Big Sandy Lake Dam, while also providing safe recreational opportunities for the general public during construction,” said Sam Smith, manager. “We look forward to delivering this critical infrastructure project so that you and your family can continue to enjoy Sandy Lake Dam for years to come.”

From 2011-2016 a series of above and below water inspections of the dam structure identified several features that had deteriorated to a point where repair or replacement was determined to be necessary to maintain the long-term integrity of the structure. The rehabilitation will ensure the preservation and safe operation of this water control structure now and into the future.

Given that construction activities are planned to occur throughout the 2021 recreation season, campsite reservations are currently unavailable for the Sandy Lake Recreation Area. Please continue to monitor recreation.gov for updates and availability. Visitors to the recreation area should also be aware that the dam and surrounding areas are now staged construction zones with restricted access.

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