Maria DeVito | Newark Advocate

BUCKEYE LAKE – More than three years after the announcement the Buckeye Lake Dam needed replaced, the project is nearing completion. Officials from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources took Ohio StatSen. Jay Hottinger, R-Newark, for a tour of the progress on the project Monday.

Hottinger said it won’t be long before construction is complete on the 4.1 mile dam.

“Sometime in November or December, my guess is that you’re going to see the fences coming down, cranes gone,” he said. “Certainly by March you’re going to see the lion’s share of making Buckeye Lake look like a park again.”

Hottinger said there are two aspects that have to be completed: the dam and the beautification of the state property.

Within the next several weeks, crews are finishing up the dam by adding large rocks, called riprap, where water meets land, installing dock pads, and pouring the concrete cap on the dam.

Mark Anthony, senior police advisor with ODNR, said residents can anchor docks to the lake bed past the riprap and use gangplanks, which will lay on the dock pads, to get to and from boats. Each residence will have a corresponding dock pad, Anthony said.

That way, Anthony said, no structures will penetrate the dam.

Once the dam has been completed and is certified by engineers, Hottinger said the work will continue to make the area look like a park again.

“There’s going to be much better public access,” Hottinger said. “I don’t think there’s really any downside to improvements that they made.”

Sidewalks will run near the homes and a grass area will be between the sidewalk and a walking and bike trail that runs the entire length of the dam. The concrete cap is the walking and bike trail. Once the concrete has finished being poured, asphalt will go over top of it, Anthony said.

Anthony said the grass area is part of the state park and therefore the state will maintain that area. But the people who live along the dam can use that area, they just can not leave items on the grass overnight.

“Can you bring something to sit on at a state park? Yes. Do you have to take it back at night? Yes,” Anthony said. “They can’t move onto that property, just like you can’t move onto a state park.”

When the project is completed, there will be public access at Sellers Point and Mud Island where people can fish. The Sellers Point area will include picnic tables as well.

“I think these people will be looking out their front windows at the most beautiful, most unusual state park in the state,” Anthony said. “It’s going to be gorgeous.”

Even as the dam projects comes to a close, dredging at the lake will continue, Hottinger said.

“It keeps the lake healthier and deeper as well,” he said. “The lake’s big enough that there’s always going to be areas that’s going to need to continue to be dredged,” he said.

Related: Buckeye Lake to be dredged by ODNR now that storage site is secured

Hottinger said the project is “rounding third and headed for home.”

“It’s definitely the waning days of the cranes and trucks and dust and heavy traffic,” he said.


Twitter: @MariaDeVito13