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Checking condition of local bridges following Central Texas failure

Lake Dunlap dam spillway failure in May causes problems near New Braunfels
Posted at 9:55 PM, Jul 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-15 23:49:07-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Tx. — Following the failure of a gate at the spillway for the dam at Lake Dunlap near New Braunfels in May, KRIS 6 News is checking on the dams at two water sources for Corpus Christi.

The Lake Dunlap failure drained most of the water out of the lake leaving boats and their docks on dry ground near the formerly lake-front homes they belong to. No repairs are in the works at this time.

"Even if we had the money to repair these spill gates, it would take about a year to a year and a half for engineering and then another three years of construction work," said Patty Gonzalez, communications manager for the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, the agency that runs the lake. "And that's assuming that you don't get a catastrophic weather event that wipes out all of your work and you start again."

Gonzalez estimates that the repairs would cost around $180 million. Lake residents are considering footing the bill, but there's no firm committment from them yet.

As for the dams of importance to Corpus Christi, the Wesley Seale Dam at Lake Corpus Christi and the dam at Choke Canyon Reservoir, the city is confident they won't fail.

"We have operators at the Wesley Seale Dam, Lake Corpus Christi that are constantly operating and maintaining the integrity of the dam to ensure the likelihood of that happening is very slim," Corpus Christi Assistant Director of Water Quality and Treatment Gabriel Ramirez said.

Age is an advantage the Corpus Christi dams have. The spillway gates at Lake Dunlap are more than 90 years old. The Wesley Seale dam was finished a little more than 60 years ago, and Choke Canyon was formed 35 years ago. The city wants to get a whole lot more out of them.

"We plan to have the dam for at least another hundred years, so we have a lot of maintenance going on to ensure that," Ramirez said.