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Stimulus money to speed up Wolf Creek Dam work

Federal stimulus money for the massive repair project at Wolf Creek Dam will cut three to four months off the time needed to finish the work, U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers announced Tuesday.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will put an extra $18 million from the stimulus package toward fixing the dam, which impounds Lake Cumberland.

That will bring the total funding for the project this fiscal year to $87.5 million and speed up the work, Rogers said. Contractors had planned to finish fixing the dam by the summer of 2012.

The extra money will allow contractors to hire more workers and will increase the chances of raising the lake level for the 2010 tourism season, Rogers said.

"Expeditious completion of this project is absolutely critical to getting our economy up and running by restoring the houseboat and resort community around Lake Cumberland," Rogers said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has kept the lake about 40 feet below the normal summer level since early 2007 in order to reduce pressure on the dam while repairing leaks under the earthen section of the structure.

It's still a giant lake, but visitation was down in 2007 and 2008.

A contractor is in the early stages of a $341 million project to build a concrete wall inside the earthen part of the dam, deep into the rock below, to seal off leaks.

The Corps of Engineers announced Tuesday that it had gotten $4.6 billion under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — the stimulus package — for projects nationwide.

The money for Wolf Creek Dam was part of that

There are a wide range of other projects in Kentucky it also will fund, the Corps announced, from extra police patrols at Buckhorn Lake to repairs on the spillway at Fishtrap Lake.

A list of Corps projects across the nation that will receive stimulus money is available at www.usace.army.mil/recovery/Pages/Projects.aspx.

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