Construction on Spillway to begin next year

By Gus Bode

Governor allocates $225,000 for project

Gov. Rod Blagojevich is pouring money into the Spillway.

Blagojevich released more than $1 million for state park projects, with $225,000 of it going for Lake Murphysboro State Park.

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The money will be used for rehabilitation of the Spillway and areas of the park, including resealing construction joints, repairing deteriorated concrete, correcting erosion problems and servicing the Spillway gate and gate stem. It will also help replace a drain and two footbridges.

The vegetation blocking the toe and sidewalls of the Spillway will be removed.

Tim Schweizer, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said the repairs for the Spillway are long overdue.

“The Spillway has been in place for a number of years, and [repairs are needed] because of age and wear and tear,” Schweizer said. “We’ve looked at doing this project for several years, and it was just a matter of getting funding to get it done.”

Schweizer said it could take a few months for the Capital Development Board to contract the engineer to design plans for the work and hire a construction firm to begin the repairs.

The rusted Spillway gate will be improved after it is lubricated.

“That will prevent water from flowing through cracks, which have formed in the spillway as a result of many years of use,” Schweizer said.

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Once construction begins, the project should only take months to complete, Schweizer said.

“It’s going to be a good project for the long-term maintenance and safety of Lake Murphysboro,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons it was a priority to get done – because of the importance of the spillway and the dam to the lake and Lake Murphysboro State Park.”

The repairs to Illinois state parks are aimed at improving visitor safety and maintenance at facilities, Blagojevich said last week in a news release.

“Parks are popular destinations for so many Illinois residents, and visitors to our state and contribute tremendously to the local economy and the quality of life of Illinois families,” Blagojevich said. “The renovations of the damns, bridges, trails and other public access areas will enhance the enjoyment of our parks.”

Blagojevich also allotted $110,000 for Pyramid State Park to repair the park office building in Perry County and regional office in Benton.

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