Mansfield Dam: Separating Lake Travis and Lake Austin - photo by Ron Nelson
Mansfield Dam (formerly Marshall Ford Dam) is a dam located across a canyon at Marshall Ford on the Colorado River, 13 miles northwest of Austin. Construction of the dam began in 1937 and was completed in 1941 as a joint project by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) and the United States Bureau of Reclamation. Originally called Marshall Ford Dam, the name was changed in 1941 in honor of United States Representative J.J. Mansfield. The reservoir behind Mansfield Dam is named Lake Travis. The dam is owned and operated by the LCRA.
Mansfield Dam is 278 feet high, 7,089 feet long, and 213 feet thick at the base. The concrete gravity dam with embankment wings and saddle dikes was designed to control flooding; to store 1.4 kmÂ³ (369 billion US gallons) of water; and to generate hydroelectric power (102 megawatts).
A two-lane highway, RM 620, crossed the top of the dam, but traffic congestion brought on by the growth of the city of Austin and expanded popularity of recreation at Lake Travis forced the state to build a four-lane highway bridge on the downstream side of the dam. Traffic is no longer allowed on the road across the dam, except for service vehicles.