Lake Tyler dam getting repaired after almost 70 years - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Lake Tyler dam getting repaired after almost 70 years

Lake Tyler Dam to be repaired (Source: KLTV staff) Lake Tyler Dam to be repaired (Source: KLTV staff)

After almost 70 years, the leak at the Lake Tyler dam will finally be repaired. Wednesday morning, Tyler City Council approved a more than $8 million contract to seal the leak. That contract, however, is twice the amount projected last year.

The dam was built in 1948. City officials say that because of older construction techniques, the leak probably began that same year.

Those who spend a lot of time on Lake Tyler said they are relieved the city has decided to make the leaky dam a priority.

It was a perfect day on the lake for Dillon Driscoll.

"Friends, family, anybody I can get to come with me, pretty much," he said he spends a lot of time out here.

But Dillon said the leak in the dam has been on everyone's mind.

"In my mind, a small leak is going to turn into a rushing river before too long," he said.

That's exactly why Greg Morgan, who works for the city, said it's time to act now.

"Today it's not a major issue. If we don't address it, it has the potential of becoming a structural problem for the dam," Morgan explained.

Gracon Construction is expected to start the repair in May. It could take about nine months to fix it.

"It is over the original estimate," Morgan continued, "certain construction aspects are simply going to cost more than the city thought, so the bid was higher than expected. Plus, they added more than 600,000 dollars in contingency money, just in case."

About half of the money to pay for all of this is coming from the Tyler Water Utilities Capitol fund. Another portion is leftover money from a 2008 bond. The city says you should not have to pay any more in tax dollars for this repair.

"But, it's real nice to hear that, because honestly I don't know why they wouldn't fix it,” Driscoll said. “And not let it get out of hand. That way $8 million doesn't turn into $20 million."

The plan is to build a wall below the water to fill any leaks. And, though a small area will be cleared in front of the dam to work, Morgan said, “We are not lowering the elevation of the lake for the construction of this project."

And he said your summer activities should not be affected, either.

"More water means more fish and more fish means more people coming out here to the marina, to the Southside Grille that they have out here. More money that's going to be spent out here," Driscoll said.

The city said the lake is inspected frequently and though that leak was not affecting water levels, a 2010 inspection found boils, or mixtures of soil and water, leaking beneath the dam. That is what ultimately alerted them it could become a structural issue later.

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