Avista's Post Falls Hydroelectric Development (HED) has been generating clean, low-cost renewable energy for over 100 years. To ensure the continued safe and reliable operation of this historic facility, Avista is restoring and upgrading the dam on the south channel of the Spokane River in Post Falls, Idaho. The work will begin in spring 2014 with construction expected to be completed in December 2014 and final road work and landscaping to be completed in spring 2015.
Original concrete and gate frames from the 1906 construction will be removed and replaced with new concrete facing, spillway gates and hoists. The new equipment will improve operational efficiencies, allowing for increased flexibility in responding to changing hydro conditions and customer demand. Other structural and operating upgrades are also included in the project to preserve the life of this important generation resource.
The safety of the public and those working on the South Channel Dam project is the top priority for Avista. When enjoying Q'emiln Park and the Spokane River, please be alert to signs and stay out of the designated construction areas. View the construction zone (PDF) outlined in red.
The following information can help you plan your time this summer at Q'emiln Park and let you know what to expect:
- Q'emiln Park, including the boat launch, swim area, trailhead and pavilion, and the Spokane River between the Spokane Street Bridge and the boater safety cables are expected to be open as normal this summer with limited exceptions.
- The trailhead and the trail that begins near the dam and parallels the south channel will, however, be closed through the construction project. Trail users will be directed to use other trailheads to access the hiking trails and climbing areas.
- The area along the west entrance road at the Trailhead Pavilion will be an active construction site with vehicles entering and leaving Q'emiln Park frequently. Traffic controls will be used to direct the safe flow of construction and public traffic and to help ensure pedestrian safety. View the traffic control plan (PDF).
- Because of the nature of the construction project, there will be noise at the work site which will be loud during certain times.
- Avista plans to develop a new overlook near the dam. It will include interpretive signs and will be designed to accommodate the trail that parallels the south channel. This work will be coordinated with the City of Post Falls Parks and Recreation Department.
- March 2014 - Mobilization
- June/July 2014 - Build cofferdam
- July - August 2014 - Demolition of concrete and existing gates/hoists
- July - September 2014 - Concrete repair
- October 2014 - Install gates
- November - Test gates and hoists
- December 2014 - Remove cofferdam and demobilize; construction complete
- Spring 2015 - Landscaping and asphalt repair
Letters to residents
You can stay up-to-date on the construction impacts and other project information by visiting this site and by signing up to receive our e-newsletter. It's easy - send us an email at SpokaneRiverNews@avistacorp.com. Be sure to type "Post Falls Updates" in the subject line and include your name and email address in the body text.
Post Falls HED
The Post Falls HED is a series of three structures on the Spokane River, nine miles downstream of Lake Coeur d'Alene in Post Falls, Idaho.
The powerhouse, upgraded in 2012, produces 18 megawatts of clean energy - enough to power 13,500 homes.
The North Channel, upgraded in 2004, and South Channel dams are non-generating and help control water levels of Coeur d'Alene Lake and parts of the Coeur d'Alene, St. Joe and St. Maries rivers during the summer recreation season.
The HED provides recreational opportunities including boating and swimming near Q'emiln Park.