The Indian Lake spillway replacement project will move ahead one Ohio Department of Natural Resources deadline for bid submissions. ODNR has been seeking bids since early October and will award a construction contract and set the construction schedule yet this fall.
In a community meeting held in Russells Point in May, ODNR spokesman John Wisse said the department hoped to begin construction of the 700-foot replacement dam in September. The delay resulted because construction permits were not received until fall, delaying bids from being sought.
According to ODNR, the existing spillway is a Class 1 high-hazard potential structure. A sudden failure of the dam would result in the structural collapse of at least one residence, commercial, or industrial building and probable loss of human life. The project is one of eight currently underway throughout the state and will take an estimated one year to complete. There is no immediate danger requiring emergency repairs, but the dam does not comply with current dam safety requirements.
Instead of the current 10-foot-high wedge of concrete put in place more than 100 years ago, the new spillway will have 18-inch thick accordion fold walls, also made of concrete. The center section will be 18 inches lower than the rest of the dam to facilitate flow, but it will not alter the existing lake level. More than 15 billion gallons of water is now and will continue to be retained behind the spillway dam. During construction, one-half of the spillway will be left in place, allowing Great Miami River water to continue flowing while a coffer dam protects construction activity on the other half.
Judy Wherry is a regular contributor to this newspaper.