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Idaho Power To Make Improvements At Shoshone Falls

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By Paul Johnson

TWIN FALLS, Idaho, ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) – Idaho Power will make improvements to its Shoshone Falls hydroelectric facility beginning in June and continuing through fall 2015. The project will not reduce flows over the falls, and the end result will be a better view of the Magic Valley’s most popular scenic attraction.
The construction activity this summer and fall will take place on the north side of the river, where water flows into Idaho Power’s hydroelectric project.
“Idaho Power’s intent is for these improvements to create a more enjoyable view of Shoshone Falls while making our hydroelectric facility safer and more economical to operate,” said Idaho Power Engineering Leader Jerrod Vaughn, who is overseeing the project.
Shoshone Falls, three miles northeast of Twin Falls, is 212 feet high and provides spectacular views from the park on the south side of the Snake River. It began producing electricity in 1907 and currently has a capacity of 12.5 megawatts.
As in past years, Idaho Power will ensure a minimum scenic flow of 300 cubic feet per second over the falls from April 1 through Labor Day. However, construction activity will shift the flow and require the reservoir behind the dam be lowered by a foot for the safety of crews working below the dam.
Construction will begin in June, with rehabilitation of the intake structure that funnels water into the powerhouse and the installation of a new scenic flow feature on the north bank of the river. This will require the flow to be directed through the gated spillway and over the falls on the south side. Once the new scenic flow feature is operational, flow will be redirected to the north side, commonly referred to as the Bridal Veil Falls. This is expected in August.

Replacement of the gated spillway is scheduled to begin in April 2015 and finish in November. Crews will build a small, temporary earthen dam just upstream of the gated spillway and within clear view of the park. Once the new dam is finished, this earthen dam will be removed.

When the project is complete, viewers will see fewer structures at the falls. Crews will remove the tin buildings at the intake structure, some distribution power poles and lines on the north bank, and the steel walkway and framework as well as the gates of the old gated spillway. New concrete visible from the viewpoints will be tinted to blend better with the surrounding rock.
Informational signs will be located near the fee booth and at the main overlook. Additional project information is available at idahopower.com.


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