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RUPERT— Public access to the Southside Canal head gates at Minidoka Dam will be restricted from March 5 to April 15 for maintenance, Bureau of Reclamation officials announced Tuesday.

The bureau will install four new supporting arms and gate reinforcements on the two radial gates that control irrigation water into the Southside Canal from Lake Walcott, which is 12 miles northeast of Rupert.

During the time frame, anglers and people wanting into the area for recreational purposes can access the dam immediately south and north of the head gates outside the construction zone.

The public access to Bishop’s Hole below the Minidoka spillway will not be affected.

“We ask the public to respect signage and barriers while our crews perform replacement work on the canal head gates,” Ryan Newman, Upper Snake Field Office manager for the Bureau of Reclamation, said. “This work will assure regular water deliveries this spring.”

Heavy ice in 2016 on Lake Walcott caused on the canal gate arms to buckle.

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A temporary repair was performed and the March repairs will prevent future loading issues caused by ice.

The bureau if working closely with Burley Irrigation District officials to make sure that irrigation water delivery is not disrupted.

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