The outlet regulating the water levels of Beaver Dam will be reconstructed this spring. Barron County assumed ownership of the structure in 2010 and has been working towards a goal of reconstruction for 4 years. The current gate was installed in 1976 and was designed with water level sensors that would automatically adjust the water levels as needed. However debris and the occasional lightning strike necessitated frequent manual operation. Without the automatic operation, it required frequent visits to regulate the opening that passes under Hwy P on the south end of Cemetery Bay.
Barron County hired Ayres Associates of Eau Claire to design a new outlet with two main goals in mind, durability and minimal operation required to maintain normal levels. The new concrete structure utilizing a weir design will be built onto the existing box culvert that has passed under Hwy P since the early 1940’s. The major factor determining how much water will pass over a dam is the length of the weir. The longer the weir, the more water can pass over it. Currently the opening is 8 feet wide, so frequent opening and closing of the gate was needed to regulate the level. The new structure will have two 7 foot long weir slots on either side of the new structure and an additional 3 foot stop log assembly on the end for a total of 17 feet of weir. This will allow for much more water to be passed automatically by the simple rising of the water level, minimizing the need for operation to maintain the level as has been the goal.
Bids for the new structure were let this winter and Jahnke Construction of Athens Wisconsin was awarded the contract for a total of $160,000.
Construction is planned to start on April 17 with it estimated to take four weeks to complete. There is no drawdown of the lake planned. A coffer dam will be placed upstream of the project and flows will be passed through the box culvert as needed with a pump.
If you have any questions please contact Tyler Gruetzmacher, Barron County Dam Coordinator at 715-537-6246 or firstname.lastname@example.org.