© 2021 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Health, Science, Environment

Ameren begins major upgrades at Lake of the Ozarks dam

The Bagnell Dam at Lake of the Ozarks
Ameren Missouri

The dam that created Lake of the Ozarks is getting its first major upgrade in more than three decades. 

Ameren Missouri this week began demolishing the old, weathered concrete at the Bagnell Dam, home to the Osage Energy Center, the largest generator of hydroelectric power in the state. The $52 million project involves removing and adding more than 66 million pounds of concrete, and drilling holes to drain water that leaks under the dam.

Later this month, officials will start installing 68 anchors, which become embedded into bedrock to restrain the dam. 

"It's a proactive measure on our part to maintain the long term life of Bagnell Dam," said Warren Witt, director of hydro operations at Ameren Missouri. "Bagnell Dam is 85 years old and we intend for it to remain in service for many, many more years. To do that, you've got to periodically do upgrades like this." 

Witt added that the upgrades will make operations safer and more reliable to residents and tourists at Lake of the Ozarks. The Bagnell Dam and the Osage Energy Center power 42,000 homes. 

The current anchors, installed in the 1980s, will reach the end of their lives within the next two decades. The new ones will take about a year and a half to install.

In July, workers will begin pouring in new concrete. That process will take about six months. To avoid interfering with weekend tourism, the construction work will be done during the day on weekdays.

Follow Eli Chen on Twitter: @StoriesByEli

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.