Local News

Hope Mills hopes to reopen road across damaged dam

Posted July 20, 2010 12:15 p.m. EDT
Updated July 21, 2010 12:04 a.m. EDT

— State engineers have approved local plans to stabilize the remains of the dam at Hope Mills Lake, and town officials said Tuesday that they hope to reopen the road across the dam before school starts on Aug. 25.

A system or structural failure around the 2-year-old dam's drainage system allowed a sinkhole to develop under the dam last month that emptied the lake.

No timetable has been set for repairing the dam, which replaced an earthen dam that washed away in a 2003 storm, and refilling the lake.

"We're doing a lot of analyzing work. Engineers are analyzing the data they acquired," Town Manager Randy Beeman said. "They know what failed, but the why (remains a puzzle)."

The engineering firm that designed the dam is footing the bill to study what caused the failure and report the findings to state regulators. They're still evaluating erosion around the structure.

Crews have channeled the creek the feeds the lake to keep water from flowing uncontrolled and compromising the structure's integrity.

Local residents say the summer isn't the same without the lake.

"It's not a very pretty sight. I think it's missed by a lot of people," Rhonda Johnson said.

Beeman said getting the road over the dam reopened is a bigger priority for officials at this point than refilling the lake.

"But maybe one day we'll get the lake back. It is the centerpiece of the town," he said.