Power for Progress…A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority

One planned for April…
Pensacola Dam roadway inspections

The roadway across Pensacola Dam has been a popular tourist destination since it first opened in 1940. Next month, GRDA will be performing a required inspection of the roadway and bridge decking.

Since its completion in 1940 historic Pensacola Dam has not only been responsible for creating magnificent Grand Lake and generating low-cost, reliable electricity, but it has also served as one of the main passageways on the lake’s southern edge. In August of that year, the first cars were able to travel between Langley and Disney along a stretch of highway that went all the way across the dam. In all the years since, many travelers have enjoyed the view and the feeling of passing over a mil of multiple arches that define one of the region’s greatest engineering endeavors.

Obviously all that traffic over the years necessitates road maintenance on a routine basis. GRDA not only performs much of that maintenance, but the Authority is also responsible for inspecting the roadway across the dam. By using a special “snooper truck” inspectors can get an up close look at the bridge decking from the bottom side; part of an inspection that is required every two years to meet federal highway standards. One of those inspections is planned for April 9 – 13 (more details to be released later this week).

During the work, the roadway must be closed to all traffic. GRDA is in the process of sending out public notices — in the form of flyers, news releases and alternate route maps — to inform the public of the temporary closure. 

GRDA personnel will be conducting the work that requires an inspection of the underside of the bridge between each of the dam’s arches … 51 total. GRDA understands that closing the roadway will present an inconvenience, however a complete road closure during inspection hours does allow the work to move more quickly, smoothly and safely. 

The inspection of the roadway is just one of many required inspections that are completed at GRDA’s electric generating facilities on routine basis. Structural integrity, operating efficiency, security and safety are key reasons behind those inspections along roadways, along dikes and inside and outside of the powerhouses. 

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Directly or indirectly, GRDA’s low-cost, reliable; electricity serves nearly 500,000 homes in Oklahoma and stretches into 75 of 77 counties in the state. At no cost to Oklahoma taxpayers, GRDA also manages 70,000 surface acres of lakes in the state, including Grand Lake, Lake Hudson and the W.R. Holway Reservoir. Today, GRDA’s 500 employees continue to produce the same “power for progress” that has benefited the state for 75 years.

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This article is part of the GRDA Power For Progress series.