Ohio DNR: Portage Lake State Park's dam project won't lower lake level

Portage Lakes Dam Improvement Project will proceed without lowering lake water level to normal fall drawdown

COLUMBUS, OH – Work on rehabilitating the Portage Lakes State Park’s West Reservoir will not require the lake level to be lowered, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The use of a hydraulic pile driver, a relatively new technology, will allow construction to proceed without lowering the lake level ahead of the previously scheduled draw down. Initially it was thought the lake level would have to be dropped by three feet for the project a month ahead of time.

“Our priority throughout this project was to make sure it was being conducted in the safest manner possible and to protect the lives of people and property around the lake,” said David Payne, chief of Ohio State Parks. “The use of this new technology will allow us to proceed in a safe manner without inconveniencing the many boaters who enjoy the use of the lake.”

Construction on the project is anticipated to begin in August. The dam, built in the 1840s, will be reinforced with a sturdy concrete shell that will be covered with soil and replanted with grass to maintain its historic appearance. The existing spillway will also be replaced with a new concrete spillway and the pedestrian bridge on the crest of the dam will be demolished and replaced with a new bridge. The project is expected to be completed in August 2012.

This year’s normal fall drawdown will occur in mid-October through mid-November. After this year, the traditional fall drawdown will occur every other year.

The West Reservoir Dam project is part of an ongoing capital construction improvement program for the Portage Lakes to ensure that the dams and associated structures are safe. Area residents may notice increased truck traffic along with some noise and dust while construction is underway. Residents are urged to keep children a safe distance from the construction site and the equipment.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.