The Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center temporarily moved operations to the John W. Keys III Pump Generating Plant Monday.
The move was made for safety reasons while new high-power electrical lines are strung across the Columbia River, some passing over the VC.
Tourist operations will remain at the pumping plant at the top of the dam until mid-December.
Traffic is also being slowed or stopped this week, as workers on towers and in helicopters bring the big 500 kilovolt lines across the river from the Third Power Plant.
“The safety of our visitors and our employees is our top priority,” said Grand Coulee Dam Public Affairs Officer Lynne Brougher. “Moving visitor center operations is our best short-term solution.”
The new lines run over the visitor center and the visitor parking lot from the forebay dam behind the Third Power Plant to 300-foot towers on the hillside on the west side of highway 155.
In total, some 54 new lines will cross the river in 18 triplet bundles. They will replace aging lines that currently run through a tunnel in the dam.
The project is expected to take about two more months. During that time, visitors will still be able to view exhibits and speak with Reclamation guides at the pump-generating plant. They will also have access to viewing areas outside of the pumping plant where they can watch the placement of the new lines.
The John W. Keys III Pump Generating Plant will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tours into the pumping plant will be offered daily at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. until October 13.
Visitors should use the parking lot to the south of the pumping plant, where the statue of Franklin D. Roosevelt overlooks Lake Roosevelt. A free shuttle van will be available to transport visitors from the parking area to the pumping plant. View a map of the area at http://goo.gl/maps/Ma5D8.
For more information, call the Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center at (509) 633-9265 or visit the website at http://www.usbr.gov/pn/grandcoulee/.