MCKENZIE BRIDGE, Oregon (STPNS) -- LEABURG: Crews from Knight Construction and Wildish Construction are nearing completion of a project that will allow workers to inspect roll gates on the Leaburg Dam without having to drain the lake.

Passers-by may have noticed concrete panels Wildish has been assembling in the parking lot. When the Knight crew lowers them into slotted beams along the face of the dam they will create sort of a “dam within a dam,” according to Eugene Water & Electric Board senior civil engineer Steve Celeste. “That will allow us to test the gate and equipment to make sure it is working properly without draining the lake,” he noted.



The work is being done in conjunction with the replacement of a hydraulic motor on Gate 2, which failed in 2012. Other modifications to the structure involved reroofing of the three towers and creating hatches that could be easily removed to allow access in the future.

Celeste said the work schedule should wrap up in mid to late February, The timing is dependent on river flow because work has to stop when levels are high due to safety considerations.

The original plan was for McKenzie Fire & Rescue to have their trucks parked across the bridge until around the middle of November

But since the start of the cold and rainy season, Fire Chief Darren Bucich says he’s decided to return the trucks to their assigned stations.

“Our trucks were never intended to be parked outside during winter or even summer.,” according to the chief. “During the cold times the equipment becomes damp and moldy; and the trucks although plugged in don’t function as well when they are cold.”

The fire trucks are no longer parked outside. Bucich said in the future, “When we knew the crane would be blocking the bridge then we would take the time to get the trucks back across and then pick them up at the end of the day.”