McConnell tours Rochester Dam

ROCHESTER, Ky. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell toured a Green River dam Thursday afternoon.

The Muhlenberg County dam is under renovations to protect a major water source for thousands of people who live in the area.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell along with other government officials toured the progress on Thursday. The Rochester Dam along the Green River is a 182-year-old structure on a water source for 50,000 Southern Kentucky residents in the final stages of some major repairs.

“Just tearing down this marvelous dam that was put up in 1838 was not enough. It was not a practical solution to what this area needed. So, creatively we managed to get it out of the corps and into private hands,” McConnell said.

Four million dollars in federal and local funding is being used for those renovations, according to John Dix, the secretary for the Rochester Dam Regional Water Commission.

“There have been some challenges with deterioration over the years. Just upstream from here is what we call Woodbury Dam. It failed in 1965 and we were very concerned. We did not want to have that happen here,” Dix said.

The work is being completed in three phases.

“Three phases include securing the lock, which was done last fall. The current work is secure what was an old mill, an old mill in the 1800’s that was on this river. That is where the work is being done right now. We are securing the mill race right now. So that work will be completed, and they’ll move into the main channel where they’ll be securing and building, basically restoring the dam to its original level,” he said.

The project is set to be completed in November.

The third and final phase will include installing steel pilings with concrete reinforcements.