BLACK RIVER FALLS, WI (WXOW)—After five years of studies, demolition and reconstruction the Black River Falls Dam reopened on Friday.
The new, $9.5 million, hydroelectric dam replaces a dam that served the community for 100 years.
"Without it I think we would have a little void," Randy Eddy, Black River Falls City Council President said.
"It's a lot of boating and fishing on the impoundment," Ron Danielson, Black River Falls Mayor said.
For the community, the dam ribbon cutting ceremony symbolizes more than the completion of a project, it means the next generation of children will be able to make new memories.
"We had a couple of friends that had cabins right here on the river. And we did some boating and skiing and really enjoyed the river," Eddy said.
"Kids growing up here would always be fishing in the rocks below the dam all the time. I was like the rest of them I was there too," Danielson said.
Aside from entertainment, the hydroelectric dam also produces 12-percent of the cities energy.
"It's clean renewable energy we're not contributing to carbon emissions. We're not contributing to radio active waste. It's a renewable source that is on demand," Warren Hayden, Mead and Hunt Project Engineer of Record said.
The new dam required a lot of work, including 2,500 cubic yards of rock excavation and 14 million pounds of steel reinforced concrete.
"It really goes back 5 years ago when we were enlisted to do a feasibility study," Hayden said.
He said their biggest challenge was trying to do construction in the middle of a river.
"We had to actually work around the river. So what the contractor did was they pushed the river to the east side, built the west half of the dam then flip flopped," Hayden said.
With all of the advances in technology over the past 100 years, the new dam is expected to out live all of us, even the last dam, with a life expectancy of 150 years.
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