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Vesuvius dam project nears beginning

Construction crews should move equipment into the Lake Vesuvius area soon.

Thursday, August 09, 2001

Construction crews should move equipment into the Lake Vesuvius area soon.

The U. S. Forest Service recently awarded the Vesuvius Dam Repair Contract to T-C, Inc. from Indianapolis, Ind., on a successful bid of just over $3.7 million.

The company expected to bring equipment in this week, but now hopes to start next week, said Wilma Boggess, forest information specialist.

The road to the boat dock, and the parking area below the dam, will be closed off when equipment moves. The closure is necessary to ensure public safety during the construction work.

T-C, Inc. has previous experience with lake dams. They completed a roller-compacted concrete repair project on the Saddle Lake Dam, in the Hoosier National Forest, last year.

Although the length of the contract is estimated at 10 months, T-C Inc. hopes to complete most of the work by the end of the year, said Mike Baines, district ranger, in a project status report.

If Mother Nature cooperates, that means there will be quite a bit of activity going on at the dam in the next few months, he said.

Meanwhile, forest officials are urging area residents to use caution around the dry lake bed.

The ground is silt clay and those who wade through it can become stuck, Ms. Boggess said.

"It is dangerous right now, and there are hazard signs in place," she said.

Also in the Lake Vesuvius dam repair project report prepared by Wayne National Forest:

– With help from the Federal Correctional Institute, Ashland, Ky., the lake bed was seeded with perennial rye grass in early June. Crews used hand seeders to get the 2,500 pounds of seed spread onto the 143-acre lake bottom. The grass will stabilize loose silt, helping to keep turbidity low in the water coming through the outlet pipe in the dam.

When officials close the valve to refill the lake, the grass will be flooded. The small fish, which will be restocked in the lake by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, will find some good places to hide until the aquatic plants come back the next spring.

– The forest has proposed some fisheries habitat and recreation improvements to Lake Vesuvius, including adding woody and rock structure to the lake for the fish; a boardwalk, bridge, and piers that would allow persons with disabilities to enjoy parts of the lake they have never been able to access; and improved camping and trail facilities. Many projects could be done more efficiently and economically while the lakebed is dry.

Employees have been listening to ideas and concerns, and have developed several different project alternatives, as part of the environmental analysis process. The forest is moving along in the process and now has resource specialists conducting on-the-ground field surveys.

– Environmental analysis for silt removal work at the boat dock and in the upper end of the lake is progressing.

– The Iron Ridge Campground will continue to be open during the construction period, as will the Furnace Shelter. The Lakeshore Trail is expected to remain open, however the forest will be temporarily re-routing the trail away from the dam. Signs will be posted along the re-route. The Ohio University Southern Campus Nature Center will also remain open during construction.

– The Vesuvius Overlook, which was dedicated on June 15, offers a great view of the dam and is a safe place to watch the construction work.

– The forest Web site (www.fs.fed.us/r9/wayne) will offer a photo update of the repair project.