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Folsom Dam Auxiliary Spillway Completed Under Budget, Ahead of Schedule

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FOLSOM -- It's a project a decade -- and $900 million -- in the making and cause of celebration.

"I never thought I'd be standing here 10 years ago."

The Folsom Dam auxiliary spillway is finally completed.

"It was built much more quickly. Five years earlier than expected and came in under budget, so you can't ask for anything better than that," said Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento.

The structure, which runs parallel to Folsom Lake Crossing, is more than 4,000 feet long.

The Folsom Lake Dam has flood gates that sit about 50 feet higher than the auxiliary spillway. This will allow engineers to release water sooner in anticipation of a flooding event.

"I live in the flood plane, and I certainly feel safer knowing the dam is here," said Kylan Kegel, the lead engineer.

The project is part of a larger effort to improve flood safety in the Sacramento area.

"And given what's going on today with increased storms and climate change, we are really lucky that we have this done right now," Matsui said.

If we see another record rainy season, and Folsom Lake gets too full. The auxiliary spillway will be able to release up to 312,000 cubic feet of water per second. That's the same as four Olympic-sized swimming pools per second.