A $7.6 million project is underway to repair the dam and replace the spillway at Indian Lake to fix safety issues that could have caused serious damage.
The 700-foot spillway catches water that flows over the dam and directs it to the Great Miami River, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website. Indian Lake will be one of the first places in Ohio to have a labyrinth design spillway, said John Wisse with ODNR.
No work has been done on the spillway in recent years, he said.
The dam needed to be replaced because of “insufficient storage-discharge capacity, seepage and instability concerns at the concrete spillway and along the entire embankment,” ODNR’s website says.
If the dam were to break, it “would likely result in the structural collapse of at least one residence or one commercial or industrial business and probable loss of human life,” the website says.
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.
“It needed replaced. It’d been there for years and years and years,” said Pam Miller, Indian Lake Area Chamber of Commerce executive director. “And so now we’re going to have a new one.”
The project is drawing a lot of attention to the area, she said.
“More of our tourists will want to come up and see what’s going on,” she said. “There’s a lot of people that are just driving by real slow, watching what’s going on.”
She hopes the new spillway will attract more tourists.
“Indian Lake is a great place to spend your vacation or your weekend or any time,” she said. “It’s beautiful up here.”
Linda Sadler lives directly across the street from the spillway and construction.
“The noise has been a little irritating, but it needs to be done,” she said.
Like Miller, she thinks the project has been needed for a while.
“There’s holes in it that they try to patch and they come back,” she said.
She’s glad the dam will soon be safer.
“I’m really anxious to see it when it’s all done,” she said.
Columbus based C.J. Mahan Construction began work on the project in January, and it’s expected to be completed by spring of 2018.