By Anna Jauhola
There has been a rumor circulating that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is considering just removing the Lake Bronson Dam.
“That’s news to me,” said Jason Boyle, state dam safety engineer. “There’s no intent to remove the dam. I’m not sure where that rumor started. It’s not on the agenda at all.”
What is on the agenda is the DNR beginning to work on design and engineering of a new dam at Lake Bronson State Park. In the 2020 state bonding bill, the Legislature appropriated $20 million to replace the dam. Originally, the DNR considered involving the Army Corps of Engineers to handle the project.
“A lot of time was spent exploring that option, trying to figure out what was going to be the best for the state,” Boyle said. “Ultimately we decided to go the traditional route of hiring a private engineering consultant to design the project and oversee construction.”
The next step is for the DNR to put out a request for proposals for engineering services. Boyle did not have a timeline for when that might happen, but said, “It’s going to take several different steps of approval. When that’s out, we’ll receive proposals from consultants and we’ll do a selection, then proceed with design.”
Although the consultant will handle design and construction, the DNR will work closely with them throughout the project. The design phase alone will take about a year, he added.
The funding for the project expires in three years. The DNR mus obligate the funding to a contract before that expiration date.
By Anna Jauhola