GBRA releases statement about Lake Dunlap spillgate failure

Design, construction, funding of spillgates pose challenges for GBRA


SEGUIN, Texas – The spillgate failure at Lake Dunlap was likely caused by a failure of structural steel members inside the spillgate and the aging of the steel, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority officials said Thursday.

The collapse Tuesday in Guadalupe County comes three years after a similar incident at Lake Wood, near Gonzales, in 2016.

The failure at Lake Dunlap has resulted in a dramatic low lake level.

"We recognize the value of Lake Dunlap to the community. GBRA is committed to finding a solution to replace the spillgates at all of our aging dams," said GBRA General Manager Kevin Patteson. "The ability to move forward with construction at Lake Dunlap, Lake Wood, and the other dams is dependent on securing funding for these multi-year, multi-million dollar projects."

After the Lake Wood incident, GBRA officials decided to replace all of the aging spillgates with a  modern gate system, a news release said.

GBRA began the design of hydraulic crest gates for Lake Wood in 2018, and is currently working with a design that will involve replacement of the spillgates and modifications to the concrete structure of the dam. 

The design, which will take approximately a year to complete, will be similar for the other dams in the system, including at Lake Dunlap, the news release said. 

The improvements are expected to take two to three years for construction at each site and cost about $15 million-$35 million per dam. GBRA officials said the river authority doesn't have the funding for the investment. 

GBRA is looking for funding opportunities through state and federal resources, as well as stakeholder partnerships. 

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