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$150 Million Dam Construction Project Begins At Buckeye Lake

Buckeye Lake
Ohio EPA
Crews have begin to build a "stability berm" next to Buckeye Lake Dam. It's phase one of the new dam project.

Construction crews have begun phase one of the $150 million Buckeye Lake Dam project: a stability berm. And it's on a fast track. Area residents can expect crews to work around the clock, 18 to 20 hours a day, seven days a week.

A “stability berm” will be built adjacent to the current dam, and project managers expect it to be completed by June...just in time for the busy lake's season. 

“The folks at Buckeye Lake, and the businesses here, have really been hard hit this spring, summer and fall,"  Ohio State Senator Jay Hottinger said. Hottinger has worked closely on the project. 

"Our goal is to get that water level up as soon as possible so that we really can return life back to the lake region.”

Hottinger said the berm will safely allow the water level to be increased. But don't expect the levels to return to normal. 

“More than where we are today, but less than the normal summer pool," Hottinger said. "But certainly high enough so that boats can return and water craft can return to the lake." 

Construction of the new four-mile dam is phase two. It likely won’t be complete until late 2018 or early 2019.

“I don’t want to certainly diminish that or downplay the significance of that," Hottinger said. "But the stability berm is something that will really improve the stability, and that’s what will allow the water level to be raised.”

In March, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a report that said the dam was at risk of failing. Engineers blamed private construction, such as houses (more than 350), docks and foundations, built on and into the dam for the problem.