Rogers: Lake Cumberland Dam Project Fully Funded

Sep 7, 2012

SOMERSET, Ky.  --  U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers says he understands the delays in repairs to a major dam on Lake Cumberland because it is a unique project.

Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said there is plenty of money to complete the Wolf Creek Dam repair project, which is scheduled to be finished late next year. The $594 million project has been ongoing at the massive dam since 2007.

The Republican congressman from eastern Kentucky's 5th District has complained in the past about delays but says the project is unique and needed a foreign contractor to complete part of the work.

Rogers told the Somerset Commonwealth Journal this week there is "plenty of money to complete the project."

Rogers said he is assured the money is there despite the fact that the U.S. Senate has not approved a budget for Fiscal Year 2013, beginning Oct. 1. He said a continuing resolution that would continue to fund projects is being prepared until a budget for next fiscal year is approved.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has deemed the project urgent because a failure of the nearly mile-long dam would flood communities along the Cumberland River all the way to Nashville, Tenn. Officials lowered the level of Lake Cumberland by 40 feet in 2007 to ease pressure on the dam.

The Appropriations Committee gives "the Corps money and it appropriates funds to specific projects," Rogers said. Don B. Getty, manager of the Wolf Creek Dam project, said while in Somerset last week that repair of the dam is one of the Corps' highest priority projects.

Wolf Creek Dam has been plagued with seepage since the gates closed and the lake began to fill in December 1950. A serious leak developed in 1968 and was controlled by intense grouting and installation of a barrier wall during the 1970s. Seepage continued, and in 2005, experts declared the dam a high risk for failure.