The Eugene Water and Electric Board hopes to start repairing Leaburg Dam as soon as May. The cost to fix the 83-year-old structure on the McKenzie River is projected to be $2.8 million. That's about twice the previous estimate.
The motor in one of the dam's three roll gates failed in 2012. The gate has been in the down position ever since. The roll-gates regulate how much water flows through the dam, which generates power for about 10-thousand homes. Joe Harwood is spokesman for EWEB. He says it's not surprising the first cost estimate of $1.2 million was off.
Harwood: "The thing about hydro-dams in particular is every one is a little bit different and in fact there's no other dam like this in Oregon. I think there's three total in the United States. So there's not of people that are experts on this."
EWEB had a single bidder on the project -- Knight Construction. The plan is to complete a bulkhead installation in May. In late September they'll start work in earnest. The job will require closing the road over the dam, which will affect some residents and a fish hatchery. Harwood says EWEB has worked closely with the community, including McKenzie Fire and Rescue, to ensure people are safe and have access.