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Hope Mills to investigate dam failure

Posted June 21, 2010

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— The Hope Mills Board of Commissioners approved a plan Monday evening to find out what caused the town's dam to fail.

Engineers drained the town's lake last week after a sinkhole was discovered, just a year after the new dam was built.

Mayor Eddie Dees said Town Manager Randy Beeman, and representatives from Crowder Construction Co., which built the dam, and the engineering firms of McKim and Creed and MacTec presented a plan of action during the commissioners' meeting for reopening the road across the lake and keeping the area safe for residents.

Beeman said the town’s annual Fourth of July celebration – scheduled to be held at the lake – will be held in the municipal park instead.

"It's a disaster," said Barbra Martin, who's lived in Hope Mills since 1968. "The lake is our daily income for all the visitors to come."

In 2003, the old earthen dam gave way, giving Donna Gray, owner of Big T’s snack bar on the lake, six waterless summers. After delays and cost overruns, the new dam was finally ready in time for last summer.

The town was still paying off the $14 million cost of building and maintaining the newer dam when the latest leak was discovered.

“I just look at the lake and I cannot believe it,” Gray said. “I just cannot believe that a $14 million structure in 15 months is gone."

Without water in the lake, Gray has seen her business dry up.

"You know, this is like a big death in the family to the whole community,” Dees said. “And we're not going to waste any time. We're going to get started right away trying to find out what happened and how we're going to fix it."

Gray is cautiously optimistic that town leaders can resurrect the lake a second time.

“It's just a little bit harder this time to believe we've got to go through this again, but we're gonna make it," she said.


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  • nuncvendetta Jun 22, 2010

    Isn't this the same lake that had the flesh-eating bacteria in it, and more recently an alligator? First place I'd look is the surrounding forests for the bulldozer that some upstanding citizen may have used to "rectify" the situation.

  • Proud2BUS Citizen Jun 22, 2010

    If this failure was due to the construction of the new dam, then the contractor should be responsible for the fix.

  • Ol Forrester Jun 22, 2010

    Let me guess, the contract went to the low bidder ??? Although those with higher bids probably would have screwed up too.

  • Viewer Jun 22, 2010

    How much are the taxpayers of NC going to pay to support the unsupportable? Why not change the land into a nice park? Hope Mills does not have much luck with dams.

  • WHEEL Jun 22, 2010

    The trouble started when Raleigh got involved in replacing the dam. That crowd can't build a highway much less a dam in sandy land and obviously never heard about a "clay core". Someone should loose his/her Engineers Certificate if they ever had one.

  • oleguy Jun 21, 2010

    Poor work, we sure have lost a lot in America these past few years,,, Its all about the money,,, No pride in a fellows work.

    The USA is going to the dogs,, Sad so Sad

  • whatusay Jun 21, 2010

    Isn't this the 3rd or 4th time this dam has been built??

  • ghimmy51 Jun 21, 2010

    My opinion is there will be no fix for this before fall. They're going to need to expose the foundation, clean it and pour a concrete seal to seal the bottom that was supposed to be the seal. It's the only way to do it right.

  • NoFreakinWay Jun 21, 2010

    "frustration builds", well where have they been. Those in charge of that puddle are more incompetent than the NC DOT!

  • hollylama Jun 21, 2010

    The lake was just recently filled back up so it can't be THAT bad.