Big Creek Lake Gate Replacement Project

Published March 6, 2015
Johnston, Iowa - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced that Jenson Construction Company plans to begin mobilizing construction equipment & material at the Big Creek Diversion Dam in the next 2-3 weeks.  During various stages of mobilization and construction, access into Big Creek State Park from Broadway (Old Hwy 415) and across the dam will be limited to one lane with traffic controls.  The Neal Smith Trail will be open, but will merge with the one lane traffic across the dam. 

In 2014, a $9.3M contract was awarded to Jensen Construction Company, of Des Moines, to replace the slide gate structure at Big Creek Lake Diversion Dam.  The Diversion Dam, built in 1970 as part of the contruction of the Saylorville Lake Project, protects Polk City during high water events.  The gate structure, which regulates the outflow of water from Big Creek Lake, has been inoperable since 1998 and has been high on the list of deferred  maintenance projects for the Corps of Engineers for many years. 

“The work being done is whole-heartedly supported by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR)”, said Chuck Gipp, director of the DNR.  "Big Creek Lake and Big Creek State Park are vitally important recreational amenities for Iowa's largest metropolitan area," said Gipp.

The 866-acre lake and 3,550-acre park surrounding it are managed by the DNR. The lake and park draws more than 700,000 visitors a year and generates more than $90 million in economic activity, according to a study conducted by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.

"I have always said that being able to answer that 'What is there to do after five o'clock' question is a crucial element in attracting and retaining a quality workforce," said Gipp.

Expected project completion is September 2016.

If you have any questions contact the Saylorville Lake Administration Office at (515) 276-4656 or for more information on Saylorville Lake water levels, outflows and inflows visit

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Jeff Rose
(515) 276-4656

Release no. 15-018