LAKE POWELL — Work has begun to deepen the Castle Rock Cut on Lake Powell. The excavation project will increase the number of usable days of the cut during lower lake levels.

National Park Service staff will place "Closed Area" buoys around the work area and prepare the site for the contractor, Brown Brothers Construction of Loa, Wayne County.

Based on current and anticipated water levels this spring, excavation will lower the bottom elevation of the cut to approximately 3,580 feet, removing more than 70,000 cubic yards of material.

The Castle Rock Cut is a popular shortcut for boaters on Lake Powell. Travel through the cut saves approximately 10 miles of boating.

"This not only saves time and gas for boaters, but it also provides for a safer boating experience," said project manager Carl Elleard

Scheduled completion for the project is late April. However, the Castle Rock Cut will not reopen until lake levels allow. The park will notify the public when this occurs.