“IN THE NICK OF TIME:” LaFayette City Lake spillway repaired

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, July 26, 2023

After four months, Harmon Engineering Supervisor Allen Tucker reported to the LaFayette City Council that construction on the City Lake Spillway repair has been completed. 

According to Tucker, the primary spillway was replaced with two 60-inch steel pipes to reinforce the spillway. The secondary pipes were replaced with two 50-inch pipes.

“We were in the nick of time,” Tucker said during the LaFayette city council meeting. 

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The City Lake spillway was damaged due to extreme floods during March’s severe weather. For several days, the city of LaFayette had limited access to water. Some households and businesses had no water supply, while those who did were under a water boil advisory. 

The city and county engineers worked closely to set up a temporary pipeline to provide water to the community while repairs were underway. 

However, as construction got underway, Tucker said they found the pipes needed to be in better shape. They installed a completely new spillway and diverted the water supply while they replaced the original pipes and poured new concrete. 

“I think you all did a good job,” said Councilman David Ennis to Tucker. 

“It was a good project and a great effort by a lot of people that made it happen,” Tucker said. 

The USDA agreed to allot over a $1 million grant for the project. 

As the repair project comes to an end, Tucker advised the city council to be proactive in maintaining the area. 

“It’s gonna be critical that we maintain the dam,” Tucker said. “The biggest maintenance issue is we can’t let trees and big shrubs grow up on the dam anymore because the roots travel through the dam looking for water, and when they die, that leaves a pathway for water to get through the dam and cause it to start leaking.”

He said structural cracks and flaws can appear if trees and plant life are allowed to encroach on the cement. The grass is also important for preventing land erosion around the city lake dam. 

Part of the dam is under the county’s responsibility for upkeep; however, it is the responsibility of the city of LaFayette to maintain the other side of the dam.

Tucker suggested the city council designate a particular department to maintain the area.