SACRAMENTO–The Department of Water Resources (DWR), in coordination with California State Parks and the California Highway Patrol, today announced the reopening of public access to the Dam Crest Road, or Oro Dam Boulevard, along the top of Oroville Dam. The public will have access to a pedestrian lane at the top of the dam, as well as the Upper Overlook parking area, beginning Saturday, June 29.
“We look forward to returning this popular attraction back to the public this summer,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “We also thank our sister agencies, the California Highway Patrol, California State Parks and the Butte County Sheriff’s Office, for their partnership to safely and securely reopen this area.”
Access to the Dam Crest Road and the Upper Overlook parking area have been closed since reconstruction of the Oroville spillways began in 2017. DWR and its construction contractors reconstructed Oroville’s main spillway and rebuilt the emergency spillway over the previous two years.
Pedestrians, persons with disabilities, and bicyclists will have access to the Dam Crest Road seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. DWR, the California Highway Patrol and California State Parks are operating Dam Crest Road with new security measures to further ensure public safety at the facilities.
“The California Highway Patrol is honored to be a part of the historic Oroville Dam Spillway repair and construction efforts, as well as its reopening for public use, and we continue to work closely with our state agency partners and law enforcement allies to help ensure various safety and security concerns affecting the public are addressed,” said Sergeant Don Pederson with California Highway Patrol. “The CHP remains committed to providing an ongoing high level of safety, service, and security to the public who wish to recreate, explore and enjoy the vast opportunities offered by the greater Oroville area.”
Construction activity is ongoing in the area and construction vehicles will be using a portion of the Dam Crest Road. The public can expect slower traffic and DWR reminds drivers and pedestrians to obey all road and traffic signs.
Later this summer, DWR will reopen public access to the Spillway Boat Ramp. The boat launch and parking lot areas will be accessible to the public Friday through Sunday during daylight hours beginning in early August 2019. The Spillway Boat Ramp will remain closed Monday through Thursday to accommodate ongoing construction. The California Highway Patrol will staff new security kiosks at the south end of the Dam Crest Road and before crossing the over the main spillway vehicle bridge. New security measures before crossing the main spillway bridge may include vehicle screenings or inspections by the California Highway Patrol or other law enforcement.
In addition to California Highway Patrol’s responsibility for the security of Oroville Dam, DWR has also contracted with the Butte County Sheriff’s Office for increased patrols around the Oroville-Thermalito Complex facilities.
DWR is aiming to reopen public access to the Spillway Boat Ramp seven days a week by the fall of 2019 as construction winds down for the winter, however access may be restricted again in spring of 2020 as construction activities increase.
In addition to restoring access to the Dam Crest Road and Spillway Boat Ramp, DWR is investing more than $30 million on a number of recreation improvement projects to enhance visitor access and experiences at the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area. Improvement projects include permanent increases in parking, boat launching capacity and enhanced trailhead facilities. For more information go to water.ca.gov/OrovilleRecreation.
Erin Mellon, Assistant Director, Public Affairs Office, Department of Water Resources