The $7.6 million project to replace the spillway at Indian Lake because of safety issues is now halfway completed.
The west half of the dam and spillway has been opened and is now controlling lake overflow, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website.
Work has now begun on the east side of the spillway at the popular state park and is expected to be completed in early 2018.
The construction has drawn a lot of interest from the community and passersby because of it’s unique design. The dam is a labyrinth design, according to ODNR’s website, and will be one of the first of its kind in Ohio. It will eventually zigzag across the lake where it meets the Great Miami River.
The new structure will be more stable and cut down on seepage, according to the website. There won’t be any change to the dam’s hydraulic operations or lake levels.
“Anytime there’s an improvement in infrastructure in the Indian Lake region, it benefits Russells Point as well as the rest of the region,” said Russells Point Mayor Robin Reames.
The construction project has become a tourist attraction of its own, Reames said. Several people stop daily to take photos of the work or to get a closer look.
“It is just such an awesome event to watch the technicalities and the procedure here,” she said.
Tia Lillard has been following the progress.
“I have no idea what to expect so it’s been cool to see,” Lillard said.
She stopped on Friday morning to take pictures of the construction.
“The spillway is pretty nostalgic for this area so I was pretty sad to see it go,” she said. “…But to see whatever this cool new design is that’s supposed to be improved and better, that’s pretty cool.”
The spillway needed to be replaced because of safety deficiencies, according to ODNR’s website.
“Their recent investigations of the dam structure revealed the concrete spillway is deteriorated and has a very low safety level,” the website says.
The old dam was more than 100-years-old, Reames said.
“It’s better to replace things before they become deficient so as not to have any problems,” she said.