Ohio legislators have appropriated sufficient taxpayer funds, approximately $106 million, for the design and construction a safe Buckeye Lake Dam so there is no fear that the Dam will not be completed. As late as Monday, the State Controlling Board approved another $1.3 million ensure continued work on the project.
Unfortunately, community proposals for non-Dam-related enhancements are beyond the current budget scope. Hopefully, Buckeye Lake 2030 will find the resources to provide funds for those proposals deemed a priority by the public.
Public Safety as well as Dam safety continue to be top priorities for all those involved in the Dam project and consequently, will be the top consideration for public-access decisions by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) that has promised to optimize public access to ODNR lands and lake once the Dam is complete. Therefore, the design and construction will be expedited to return the Lake to normal as soon as possible.
- ODNR has appointed a “dam-tender’ who will actively manage water level during construction to assure dam safety. Among other commitments ODNR states that the Dam will be designed with the community in mind.
- A buttress wall will be built between the new cutoff wall and the old Dam face.
- Dam will feature a vertical face on the lake-ward side.
- Berm remnants on the lake-ward side of cutoff wall will be removed.
- Top of Dam will accommodate safety inspections using ODNR vehicles.
- Design will allow for sensible post-construction enhancements that do not elevate risk.
- The Dam will be designed to minimize on-going maintenance costs.
Buckeye Lake Dam Construction of Phase 1 was completed under budget and earlier than first predicted. Phase 2 architectural and engineering plans are still in the works. Additional soil-mix construction of the supporting buttress between the cutoff wall and the old dam is currently scheduled to begin in early 2017. Construction is still expected to be complete during 2019. The stability berm, while completed is still off-limits to the public in the interest of safety. Access is prohibited.
DOCKS ON THE DAM
A major concern of those living on the Dam, those with homes on the lakefront in Licking and Fairfield Counties is the decisions by ODNR regarding the placement of their docks. The following information should make them relatively happy.
ODNR plans to allow homeowners on the dam to have access to docks in the future.
- Docks will not be allowed to be attached to the Dam.
- Sufficient clearance will be required between docks for dam safety repairs and boater safety.
- Docks will be allowed to be installed only from lake-ward side to avoid damage to the Dam.
- Docks will be required to be installed using ODNR-approved materials and methods to ensure a dock can be readily removed in an emergency.
- No docks or boatlifts will be allowed to be stored on top of the Dam.
- Docks will be restricted to a certain width to ease visual inspection of the Dam; e.g. wide “party docks” that could conceal long reaches of the Dam will not be allowed.
- Docks and other structures along the Dam will require ODNR approval before installation.
Besides concern about dock placement, people in Licking, Fairfield and Perry Counties are hoping for enough water be allowed to fill the Lake so that they can use their boats that have been shrink-wrapped on their properties for the last two years.
While Phase 2 design is underway ODNR is seeking input and feedback from the community. Please feel free to send us comments by calling 614-221-2800. In addition, Open Houses continue to be scheduled to provide updates on the various aspects of the project including but not limited to design, work schedule and docks. When those events are scheduled a notice will be sent to everyone who has signed up for email updates.