Corps says full repair of 185.3-MW Fort Peck could top US$225 million

FORT PECK, Mont. 6/5/12 (PennWell) — A proposal to repair and improve the 185.3-MW Fort Peck hydropower plant on Montana’s portion of the Missouri River could be hindered based on cost estimates recently released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has learned.

Record snowfalls and spring rains in Wyoming and Montana last year damaged the dam’s spillway gates and eroded areas downstream from the structure, causing more than US$225 million in damages.

The Corps says it can only afford to pay for $46 million in damage assessments and repair work, however, with an expansion of Fort Peck’s spillway receiving the bulk of the attention. It would be bolstered to handle releases of 265,000 cubic feet per second, or more than four times its peak capacity during last year’s flooding.

Fort Peck was one of six Corps hydropower plants along the Missouri River damaged by the floods, also including 132.3-MW Gavins Point in Nebraska and 517.8-MW Garrison in North Dakota; and 320-MW Fort Randall, 494-MW Big Bend, and 786-MW Oahe in South Dakota.

The Corps previously sought bids for emergency repairs to Fort Peck’s spillway access roads, flood control structure roads and drains in May. It is also currently seeking solicitations for rehabilitation work on the dam’s 16 spillway gates.

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