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Sandy Lake Dam Rehabilitation Project, Aitkin County, Minnesota

Published April 16, 2020
Updated: April 16, 2020

Over its history, Sandy Lake Dam has undergone a series of modifications, repairs and periodic inspections. From 2011 to 2016, a series of above and below water inspections identified several features that had deteriorated to a point that repair or replacement were necessary to maintain the long-term stability of the structure.


Sandy Lake Dam is located on the Sandy River in Aitkin County, Minnesota, 1.25 miles upstream of the junction between the Sandy River and Mississippi River.


A preliminary engineering report (i.e., design analysis report) was completed to summarize the recommended rehabilitation plan:

  • Rehabilitate Deteriorating lock bulkhead wall.
  • Replace wooden stoplogs in log sluice with a dual leaf slide gate.
  • Refurbish the existing slide gates with mechanized gates.
  • Remove existing upstream timber apron and replace with concrete. Include new sheetpile cutoff.
  • Repair deteriorated concrete.
  • Install new 3 phase electrical system.

Drafting of plans and specifications for the Sandy Lake Dam rehabilitation is in process, under an Architecture and Engineering (AE) contract with Stanley Consultants. The design phase of the project will be complete in June 2020. Funding has been received in the 2020 work plan for the construction contract, which justifies a contract award date of September 30, 2020. Construction is scheduled for FY2021 – FY2022.


The project authority is the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1880. Following the authorization for the reservoirs, Congress directed the Secretary of War to establish rules governing their regulation through the Rivers and Harbors Act of 11 August 1888. The original authorized project provided supplemental flow during periods of low Mississippi River stages. Demands for storage releases for navigation were greatly reduced in the 1930s. Since then, Sandy Lake Dam has been operated for flood control, recreation, fish and wildlife conservation, water supply and water quality improvement.


FY 2020:
Plans and Specifications                                  $955,000
Award Construction Contract                      $7,500,000