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Project Updates

Buckeye Lake: Water Levels and Construction Update

Posted on 3/8/2017 by Engineering in Buckeye Lake Dam

To keep you informed about what is taking place in your community, we'd like to provide you with an update on the Buckeye Lake Dam Improvements Project.

The morning March 1, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) put "stop-logs" in place at the primary spillway that will allow Buckeye Lake to fill up to the Interim Summer Pool level, which is one foot below normal summer pool. Stop-logs are historically installed on March 1 and this schedule will continue throughout construction.

Buckeye Lake will continue to be proactively monitored and maintained at the Interim Summer Pool level during recreational seasons, until the dam replacement project is completed. The dam will be completed late 2018.

The stability berm and seepage cutoff wall installed as interim risk reduction measures in Phase I addressed seepage and instability concerns but not overtopping. The dam is in a safer state than it was prior to completing Phase I but will remain vulnerable to certain hazards until all dam improvements are complete in 2018. Those hazards include severe rain events that could overfill the reservoir and overtop the dam.

The Interim Summer Pool level was deliberately selected to reduce risk while allowing for more recreational boating during Phase II construction.

Examining data gathered over the previous two decades, the lake is expected to reach the Interim Summer Pool Level this May.

Phase I Construction

 Phase I activities included the construction of the Embankment Stability Berm (berm) and the seepage cutoff wall. The berm is 4.1 miles long, stabilizes the old dam structure and serves as a 30-foot-wide construction platform.

The berm and cutoff wall combined, provides the community and residents downstream with a structure that offers significant protections against potential dam failure, as well as allowing for interim lake levels to be raised above winter pool. It is important to note, that the new berm and cutoff wall were planned, designed, permitted and constructed just 15 months after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deemed the dam to be at risk of catastrophic failure.

Phase II Construction

 Because Phase I was an emergency measure requiring full attention of the team, Phase II design was planned to begin after Phase I was complete. The proposed design for Phase II will consist of continued soil mixing to support the cutoff wall and a landscaped cap that will include an asphalt access path for use by the public on top of the new dam and a sidewalk for local access at the state property line.

Rendering of proposed dam cap.

The proposed design leaves the berm material in place, providing extra armoring on the shoreline. Grass turf will also be established in the zone between the existing soil mixed cutoff wall and the stone rip-rap shoreline.

As with any construction schedule, there are several factors that can influence the pace and progress of the work, including extreme weather. Construction will generally occur Monday through Friday, during one 12-hour shift. Occasionally work will occur on weekends as necessary. Residents should expect to see construction crews mobilizing by early April 2017. Construction will be complete by late 2018.

Listening Sessions 

Representatives of ODNR, the engineering firm Gannett Fleming and the contractors ASI Constructors will host listening sessions to share information with residents and stakeholders about the ongoing remediation work at Buckeye Lake Dam.

ODNR has contracted with Gannett Fleming to provide final design, construction administration and other related services required to make the needed improvements to the dam. ASI has been selected as the construction manager to lead the coordination and construction of the new dam.

Please see the Listening Session schedule below:

March 8, 2017
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Lakewood High School
9331 Lancer Rd SE
Hebron, OH 43025

March 9, 2017
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Millersport Elementary
11850 Lancaster St.
Millersport, OH 43046

The two listening sessions will cover the information about the dam and the progress of the repair project. The events will begin at 5:30 p.m. and participants will have the opportunity to speak individually with subject matter experts on various topics of interest.

Visit the Buckeye Lake Dam Risk Reduction project page


Please be aware: for your safety, crossing the fence to the Embankment Stability Berm is prohibited except for emergency responders and authorized personnel. Do no cross the fence for any reason.

Buckeye Lake State Park web page.