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Salem Lake to be Drained, Trail to be Relocated | Environment

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Salem Lake to be Drained, Trail to be Relocated

In conjunction with an upcoming dam replacement at Salem Lake, Salem Lake Trail will also be relocated. 

Relocation of the trail will begin on Wednesday, September 1, and is scheduled to be completed and reopen after two months of construction on November 1. 

The new dam is to be constructed where the trail, in its current path, crosses Salem Creek.  The new path of the trail is in efforts to leave the trail open while the new dam is being built. 

When construction of the new dam begins, Salem Lake will be drained to a partial extent and simultaneously close to all fishing and boating.  The bait shop at Salem Lake will remain open during this time to service those who still intend to use the trail. 

After the Lake has been drained, its area will have been reduced to approximately 125 acres, 160 acres less than when it is full.  According to Fitzgerald, lowering the level of the lake is necessary to ensure that the Lake is able to absorb a 10-year storm without damaging the construction. 

The new dam, replacing the old dam built 91 years ago in 1919, will be located approximately 100-feet downstream of the location of the old one.  Construction of the new dam is expected to take an entire year and cost about $10 million, according to Jack Fitzgerald, an engineer with the City Utilities Division. 

“Due to its age and the fact that we have the Thomas (water) plant down for reconstruction, it’s a good time to do this project,” said Fitzgerald. 

The Utilities Division had conducted a study about three years ago in which the dam spillway was discovered to fall short of current requirements.  The concrete in the spillway is aged to an extent at which repairs would cost more taxpayer dollars than a replacement project. 

More information on this project can be found at www.CityofWS.org

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