Construction is currently underway to replace the dams at Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid, located in New Braunfels, Texas. The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) has issued the formal notice to proceed, effective Monday, June 19, 2023. The estimated timeline for completion is 22 months for Lake Placid and 24 months for Lake McQueeney, taking into account any unforeseen weather delays.
The Lake McQueeney community is eagerly anticipating the positive impact this project will have on the area for generations to come, as stated by Lake McQueeney WCID President Bob Worth. The support and enthusiasm of the Lake Placid community have made this project possible, as acknowledged by Lake Placid WCID President Robin Dwyer, who expressed gratitude for their overwhelming support in ensuring the preservation of Lake Placid for future generations.
Similar to the project nearing completion on Lake Dunlap, the construction will involve replacing the bear-trap style crest gates on each dam with new hydraulically-actuated steel crest gates. Structural modifications to the existing spillway structures, installation of new mechanical and electrical operating systems, improved backup power, enhanced instrumentation and controls, improved headwater and tailwater measurement tools, new video surveillance, and the addition of supervisory control and data acquisition interfaces are also included in both projects. Additionally, a dewatering system will be installed, allowing future maintenance activities to be completed with a full lake level. The existing earthen dams will be hardened to meet the compliance requirements of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Dam Safety. Sundt has been chosen as the general contractor for both projects through a competitive procurement process.
GBRA’s General Manager and CEO, Darrell Nichols, expressed readiness to commence the projects and highlighted the importance of partnership and cooperation with the Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid communities. This collaboration includes working closely with the Lake McQueeney WCID, Friends of Lake McQueeney, the Lake Placid WCID, and Citizens United for Lake Placid (CULP).
The funding for both projects will be secured at below market interest rates through the Texas Water Development Board’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund program. As per the financing and operation agreements between GBRA and the Water Control and Improvement Districts (WCIDs) for each lake, the WCIDs will assume responsibility for the debt service on the bonds issued by GBRA and for future maintenance and operations costs of the new dams. GBRA will retain ownership and continue to operate both dams, while all gross revenues generated from the sale of hydroelectric power will be allocated back to their respective WCIDs.
With the construction in progress, Lake McQueeney and Lake Placid are set to benefit from improved infrastructure and enhanced safety measures, ensuring the long-term preservation and enjoyment of these beloved water bodies for the community and future generations. The construction project will create a more reliable water supply, increase flood control capabilities, and contribute to the ecological well-being of the surrounding areas. The collaboration between stakeholders and the community’s support will foster a sustainable future for these lakes, enriching the lives of residents and visitors alike.