Longhorn Dam

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Longhorn Dam
Longhorn dam.jpg
The upstream side of Longhorn Dam in 2005
Longhorn Dam is located in Texas
Longhorn Dam
Location of Longhorn Dam
Official name Longhorn Dam
Location Austin, Texas, USA
Coordinates 30°15′1″N 97°42′49″W / 30.25028°N 97.71361°W / 30.25028; -97.71361Coordinates: 30°15′1″N 97°42′49″W / 30.25028°N 97.71361°W / 30.25028; -97.71361
Opening date 1960
Operator(s) City of Austin
Dam and spillways
Impounds Colorado River
Height 36 feet (11 m)
Length 506 feet (154 m)
Reservoir
Creates Lady Bird Lake

Longhorn Dam is a dam located at 30.2504, -97.7135 (WGS 84 datum) on the Colorado River within the city limits of Austin, Texas, USA. Longhorn Dam was built by the city of Austin and finished in 1960 as the last in a chain of Colorado River dams in central Texas started during the Great Depression. The dam derives its name because it was the ford across the Colorado for longhorn cattle drives as a part of the Chisholm Trail in the late 19th century.

The dam stands 36 feet (11 m) high and runs 506 feet (154 m) across. The "reservoir impoundment length," is 5.75 miles (9.3 km), creating Lady Bird Lake (formerly called Town Lake), a freshwater lake with a surface area of 525 acres (2.1 km2) and a 12.5 miles (20.1 km) shoreline. The original purpose of Lady Bird Lake was a cooling lake for Austin's Holly Street Power Plant, a 570 megawatt natural gas and fuel oil fired power plant. The plant ceased power production in September 2007, and will be deconstructed beginning early in 2012.

On July 10, 2007 two teenage girls canoeing on Lady Bird Lake were sucked through the dam. The lake was closed for recreation due to record amounts of rain in the months of June and July, however the girls were unaware of the ban. Neither of the girls was hurt.[1]

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