Damon Arthur, Redding Record Searchlight Published 3:57 p.m. PT June 20, 2018 | Updated 12:06 p.m. PT June 21, 2018
After years of environmental studies, feasibility reports and stalled plans, federal officials are once again moving forward with plans to raise the height of Shasta Dam and intend to award the first construction contract next year.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation plans to advertise for bids on a construction contract in September 2019 and award a bid by December 2019, said Todd Plain, a spokesman for the agency.
So far, Congress has only allocated $20 million for the project, well short of the total $1.4 billion projected cost. Building the concrete, 18½-foot tall structure on top of the dam is expected to cost $350 million, Plain said.
With a higher dam, the lake level could rise as much as 20 feet higher when the lake is full, forcing the bureau to move numerous roads, bridges, campgrounds, buildings and resorts.
Construction to raise the height of the dam would begin sometime in late spring or summer 2020, Plain said. Construction would take about five years, according to an environmental impact report done on the project.
While the bureau has its construction timelines set, opposition to the project has also been well established for years and hasn’t gone away.
The state of California, environmental groups and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe remain opposed to the project.
State officials say raising the height of the dam would violate state law because it would inundate a portion of the McCloud River, a protected river under state law.