A $7.8 million project to improve safety and modify the construction of the Guernsey Reservoir Dam is currently underway with an expected completion date of March 2014.
The project supervised and funded by the Bureau of Reclamation and awarded to Moltz Constructors, Inc. of Cody, involves the refurbishing of the south spillway, construction of a filter in the dam embankment near the north spillway and construction of a new parapet wall on the crest of the dam.
This construction requires that Lakeside Drive will be closed across Guernsey Dam staring in January, and continuing throughout the completion of the project.
Guernsey State Park will remain open throughout the duration of the project and south side recreational facilities will remain accessible via Skyline Drive. Because Lakeside Drive will be closed, recreational facilities on the north side of the reservoir will be accessible via Hwy 270 north from Guernsey to Hartville, then along Hwy 317 to Lakeside Drive at the north entrance to the park. Informational signs will be installed to help visitors navigate the route.
The reservoir is expected to maintain a level approximately 12 feet lower than levels normally reached in May and maintained for much of the summer.
“We expect to be able to continue to offer most kinds of water based activities,” according to Guernsey State Park superintendent Todd Stevenson. “Whether or not we will be able to accommodate some of the deeper bowed boats is somewhat in question at this point. We do remind people that the main boat ramp and Long Canyon ramp will be the visitors’ best option in launching their boats during this season.”
Despite the lower water level, visitors are reminded to use only designated campsites.
All three boat ramps in Guernsey State Park have been extended to provide boating access during the summer season. The reservoir is expected to return to normal levels during the 2014 summer season pending scheduled completion of construction.
Additionally, Stevenson expects the annual Silt Run to still take place but in a manner in which water released from Glendo Reservoir will flow through Guernsey Reservoir to downstream irrigators rather than a complete draining of Guernsey. The Silt Run is expected to result in a slight decrease in the already low water levels at Guernsey.
According to the Bureau of Reclamation, the construction will not interfere with normal delivery of water and power generation at Guernsey Dam.