I-5 will be shut down to move massive dam gates

FOLSOM, Calif. (AP) — A 600-mile stretch of roadway will be shut down in legs because of a billion-dollar project to improve the flood protection rating of a Northern California dam, a newspaper reported.

The closures from Portland, Ore. to Folsom are needed to transport massive new flood-control gates for Folsom Dam north of Sacramento, the Sacramento Bee reported on Monday. The gates are designed to release water earlier and faster during a flood, providing greater protection to the Sacramento region from storms on the American River.

Each assembled gate is about the size of 12 school buses strapped together in a cube. Though they are being transported in pieces, Interstate 5 and other roads will have to be shut down to accommodate them, the Bee reported.

The gates were fabricated in Clackamas, Ore. The first shipment is expected later this month.

"It'll be pretty interesting, pretty spectacular, for them to be moving something this large down from Oregon," said Rick Johnson, executive director of the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency. "I anticipate it'll be similar logistics to moving the space shuttle."

Interstate 5 will only be closed at night, with the trucks delivering the different pieces staying off the roadway during the day, said Army Corps project manager Katie Huff. The contractors on the project are working with the California Highway Patrol, state transportation department and local governments on the details of the deliveries, which will take months to complete, according to the Bee.

All the parts are expected to be on site by May.

Folsom Dam's refurbishment is largely being funded by the federal government. It is expected to be completed in 2017.