ROCKVILLE, MD-Repairs to the Lake Needwood Dam in Rock Creek Regional Park have been underway for about eight weeks and as the Montgomery County Department of Parks prepares for a grand opening celebration of the new Lake Needwood Boathouse, the grout curtain installation project for the dam is proceeding well.
“We are in good shape to respond to any large storm event that could occur this hurricane season,” said Montgomery County Department of Parks Construction Manager Andy Frank. “We have reduced the number of paths water can flow through below the dam and will continue to do so as the grout curtain installation progresses; we have a greater understanding of how the dam will respond to high water, better monitoring equipment in place and personnel regularly observing dam conditions.”
Focus on the dam’s condition and rehabilitation over the past 11 months has helped to prepare for potential storms this summer.
In late March, a specialty contractor employed by the Department of Parks began installing a grout curtain below the Lake Needwood Dam to reduce seepage through the dam’s rock foundation. Thus far, the grout curtain installation has supported the department’s theories about how water is migrating through the fractured rock below the dam. Significant fractures on the dam’s foundation have been found and injected with large amounts of grout, particularly on the left side of the dam where the leak occurred last summer. The construction project has allowed contractors to locate and address potential seepage routes and the project is progressing within budget.
“Although some of the work might take a little longer than anticipated, the contractor continues to work diligently and our consultant is confident that ongoing work will not jeopardize the dam’s ability to withstand a large storm,” added Frank.
This first phase of the overall remedial measures program initiated for the dam-the installation of the grout curtain-is expected to take approximately two more months to complete, with the second phase occurring later this summer. As a result of the project, hiking or crossing over the dam is prohibited. However, public access to the park and the Lake Needwood boat rentals are available by using the main park entrances on Needwood or Avery roads. Boat rental season opened up at Lake Needwood on May 5 and the new and completely renovated boathouse is now open for business too. Beginning this week, May 30, boat rentals are available Wednesday through Sunday.
“This Memorial Day weekend business at the boathouse was booming,” said Lake Needwood Boathouse Manager Kevin Van Scoyk.
On Saturday, June 9, boating, biking and fishing fans will enjoy a celebration for the new Lake Needwood Boathouse during the Department of Parks’ grand opening event and in conjunction with Hudson Trail Outfitters Boat and Bike Demo Day at Rock Creek Regional Park that same day. From 11:00 am - 4:00 pm the Department of Parks will celebrate the new Lake Needwood Boathouse with chances to win FREE park naturalist-led pontoon boat tours, reduced rates on boat rentals, updates on the Lake Needwood Dam repair project, giveaways, food and fun.
For more on the Department of Parks Grand Opening of the New Lake Needwood Boathouse see www.MontgomeryParks.org.