Officials: Smith Mountain dam boat barrier repaired

Officials: Smith Mountain dam boat barrier repaired (Image 1) (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Officials with Appalachian Power say they've completed repairs to a floating boat barrier that flipped underwater near the Smith Mountain Lake Dam last month. 

They say the barrier's top section was knocked over by a combination of ice buildup, snow and wind, and was discovered on February 22.

Because vertical sections of the barrier were underwater, the structure was harder to see by boaters on the lake surface. However, three companion lighted buoys remained operational and were visible at night, officials say. 

A contractor for Appalachian repaired and righted the 1,000-ft. barrier earlier this week. Officials say the structure runs between the Bedford and Pittsylvania County slopes of the Smith Mountain gap where the dam is located. It is between navigational marker R1 and the dam and was designed to keep boats away from dangerous power generation areas. 

Appalachian says they had ordered a new boat barrier and warning system for the location before the winter damage occurred. They say the new structure is expected to be in place by fall 2015.