Brighton Dam Rehabilitation Project FAQs

  1. Why is maintenance being done to Brighton Dam?
    Brighton Dam, originally built in 1943 to form the Triadelphia Reservoir, is safe and structurally sound. The rehabilitation project will extend the useful life of the dam and ensure the continued safe performance of this important piece of infrastructure.
  2. What is the scope of the work being performed?
    Work includes rehabilitating the 13 gates that control water flow (tainter gates) and the dam’s spillway surface, which is the concrete structure the water flows over when being released from the dam. The original intake gates and bar screen (a mechanical raw-water filter) also will be replaced. 
  3. What is the duration of the project?
    The project is expected to begin June 1, 2017, and continue through Summer 2019, weather permitting. 
  4. Will other projects be taking place in addition to maintenance of the dam? 
    Yes. A new field office and visitor center also will be built. This project is expected to begin in fall 2017 and be complete by early spring 2019, weather permitting. 
  5. What impact will the project have on the reservoir level?
    During construction, the reservoir water level will be lowered from its normal elevation of 363.4 feet above sea level to 340 feet.
  6. Will the lower water level impact recreation access?
    Yes. Effective June 1, 2017, all recreational areas on Triadelphia Reservoir, including Brighton Dam, Greenbridge, Triadelphia, Pig Tail and Big Branch, will be closed to the public. This includes use of the picnic areas, all water activities and fishing.  
  7. How will this project affect reservoir access and boating? 
    As of June 1, 2017, access to Triadelphia Reservoir will be closed for the duration of the project. Boating will not be allowed during this time (this includes entering from private property). Additionally, no shoreline fishing will be allowed.
  8. Will any facilities be open during the two-year construction at Brighton Dam? 
    Yes. The temporary Brighton Dam Visitor Center will be open. There will be limited access to the Brighton Dam parking lot. 
  9. Will hunting be permitted?
    Yes. Hunting will be permitted during the regularly scheduled managed hunts. Schedules will be posted online at, under Environmental Stewardship.   At the request of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources bow hunting for deer in the designated areas in Howard County will continue to be allowed.  See map of designated areas.
  10. How will water levels be controlled throughout the project?
    During construction, the dam will act as an ungated, uncontrolled spillway structure. Smaller storms will be fully contained in the drawn-down reservoir. Larger storms may fill the drawn-down reservoir and potentially result in the river below the dam rising more quickly and more often than when the dam is fully operational.  
  11. What precautions are being taken in the event there is a lot of precipitation?
    A construction phase Emergency Action Plan has been prepared to address potential flooding during construction.
  12. What are the working hours? 
    Anticipated work hours are Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Work may occasionally extend beyond these hours to complete specific tasks.  
  13. How will the project impact traffic on Brighton Dam Road?
    It was first thought that traffic along Brighton Dam Road would be limited to one lane of traffic, with alternate one-way movement through the construction area.   It has been determined that the construction work will not require the regular shut down of one lane of Brighton Dam Road.  Though there may be some instances where a lane or the road may be blocked for a short period to allow for the movement of equipment. 
  14. What actions are being taken to minimize the environmental impact? 
    The lowering of the reservoir will have no lasting impact on the watershed. The contractor is required to remove all construction debris off site to an approved facility. All water used in the demolition process will be pretreated, hauled away and disposed of at the nearest WSSC wastewater collection location. Paint also will be removed and disposed of in accordance with current industrial standards. 
  15. Will horse trails be available?
    Only the winter trail will be available, from approximately December 1 through March 14. Visitors should contact the Brighton Dam Visitor Center at 301-206-4FUN (4386) for access details. 
  16. I purchased a watershed pass. Can I still have access to T. Howard Duckett Reservoir? 
    Yes. The T. Howard Duckett Reservoir (aka Rocky Gorge) will open as normal.
  17. Will there be a discounted season permit fee until the project is completed?
    No. Permit fees will remain at their regular rate. 
  18. Will the fish be able to survive during construction?
    We anticipate the fish population will survive the construction process as they have during other drought periods when water levels have been lower than normal. 
  19. Who should be contacted for additional questions about the project or information about use of dam activities?