ASHTON, Idaho -

PacifiCorp has begun the process of refilling the Ashton Dam Reservoir to its normal level. The company said reconstruction of the dam is now complete and should be open to the public for recreation in early January.

"As we began refilling Ashton reservoir in November, project scheduling required several pauses in the process," said Troy Stout, project manager. "We expect that the process to refill the reservoir to its normal level will be completed about Dec. 31. Then, depending on ice conditions and a final review for reservoir access safety, the project will again be open to the public for recreational activities. We anticipate that to be Jan. 4, 2013."  

Ashton resumed generating electricity for Rocky Mountain Power customers Dec. 10, 2012.

The reconstruction project had been under way since 2007 and included construction of a diversion tunnel around the dam in 2011. Repair and replacement of concrete supporting structures was completed on the downstream side of the power house in early 2012. 

The Ashton Hydro Plant is located about 2.5 miles west of Ashton on the Henry's Fork of the Snake River.  Construction of the original facility begin in 1914 and completed in 1918. 

The new dam is a zoned earthen-fill embankment with a concrete crest and roller compacted concrete downstream face. It includes a powerhouse with three generating units. Unit No. 1 is rated at 2.7 megawatts, and Nos. 2 and 3 are each rated at 2 megawatts.