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Stop-work notice can't halt Folsom Dam project

By: Roger Phelps, The Telegraph
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A project to elevate Folsom Dam will proceed despite its appearing on a state stop-work list. The flood-control project has entered its design stage, and eventually will need some state money, according to state and federal officials. So, the state Department of Finance on Dec. 17 put it on a list of recommended stop-works -- more than 1,900 of them -- in the state's unresolved budget crisis. The listing says in part, "Without (state) loan approval, payments for existing work under current contracts would have to be halted. Any planned work would be reviewed and work stoppage would occur." The state last month officially halted payments to aid nearly 2,000 projects around California, including the dam project, but the dam project will work around the state move. A pass from effects of the state stop-work list also applies to the El Dorado County carpool-lane project at Bass Lake Grade, which is proceeding. "Those are mere recommendations, " said Steve Yuhas, chief information officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In the dam project and the highway project, non-state funding sources are sufficient to allow work to continue -- with the hopes that California's budget crisis sorts out and permits eventual delivery of promised state money. The dam project's construction phase is in line for $5 million in state aid, according to the state Finance Department. "The 'design-to-raise' part is 100-percent federally funded," said Brandon Muncy, local chief of civil-works projects for the Corps. Creg Hucks, the Corps' American River program manager, said "It will change in the future. Right now, it is federally funded, but the state has a piece in the future, on the raise." Muncy said need for committed state money is "several years down the road." Eventually, some $1 billion or more will be spent in a project, sponsored by the city of Folsom, that will provide added drinking-water-storage capacity for Folsom Lake as well as flood control downstream on the American River. The Telegraph’s Roger Phelps can be reached at rogerp@goldcountrymedia.com, or post a comment at folsomtelegraph.com