Lake Dale celebrates dam construction
By Rich Bird Post-Tribune correspondent July 23, 2012 1:15PM
Updated: August 25, 2012 6:10AM
CROWN POINT — Residents of the south county community of Lake Dalecarlia are celebrating the kickoff of restoration and repair of the lake’s two dams.
Local, township and county officials gathered Monday at the community’s Property Owners Association building to thank those involved in the years-long process to find funding, and hear details from the construction and design teams.
According to officials, the project will stabilize the two dams that form the lake, located along Cedar Creek south of Cedar Lake, as well as improve the stream banks downstream of the dams.
Key components of the project include:
Bridge improvements on the West Dam, including new ring walls.
Replacing and improving the existing culvert on the East Dam.
Embankment reinforcement on the streamside of both dams to prevent future failure.
Reshaping of the existing lakeside riprap for additional stabilization.
Stream bank enhancement including removal of broken concrete and rubble, and installation of erosion prevention rock, soil lifts, native seeding and new trees.
“This is a huge day, said Martha Coakley, president of the Lake Dalecarlia POA, who is generally recognized as the driving force behind the project. “We’ve been working on this for three and a half years. It gives me goose bumps saying that because I didn’t think this day would ever come.
The project was made possible through a $1.8 million grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. Additional funding sources include $60,000 from the Lake Dalecarlia Property Owners Association, as well as $50,000 in drainage funds and $50,000 in MS4 water quality funds administered through the Lake County surveyor’s office.
According to Project Manager Eric Neagu of the Weaver and Boos Consultants engineering firm, restoration and repair work became a priority after the remnants of Hurricane Ike caused water to overtake the privately owned dam in 2008, causing damage down stream.
“The dam was undermined,” Neagu said. “There was sandbagging, and a lot of damage in Lowell.”
The impact of the project will require closure of the roads over the dams for roughly three weeks each. During that time, emergency vehicles will have full access to the road over the west dam. There will be three days during construction that emergency vehicles will not have access to the road over the east dam, and will be forced to circle the lake, Marty Zubriggen of Ellas Construction Co. said.
He added that construction should proceed unimpeded as long as there aren’t rains significant enough to send water over the dam. As long as that doesn’t happen, Zubriggen said he does not expect the water level in the lake to drop.
Dave Austgen, of Austgen Equipment, said his company is working on Ellas’s timetable, and should be finished with stream restoration within two or three days of the completion of work on the dams.
Lake County Surveyor George Van Til said the project is an example of positive action that can be accomplished when government entities work together, and a community in need does what it can to help itself.
“Sometimes I get frustrated because government doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to, and you get frustrated, and polls show that people think government doesn’t work,” Van Til said. “They should be here today.
“It’s a happy day for this community. Being in government most of my life, it’s a happy day for me because I see exactly how it’s supposed to work … this ought to be a lesson taken throughout this county, throughout this state and throughout the Midwest.”