BUCKEYE LAKE, OH (WCMH) – Construction on the dam at Buckeye Lake is well ahead of schedule. Work was expected to be complete by 2020, but officials announced on Wednesday they’re on track to wrap up by late 2018.
The state has agreed to allow the lake levels to increase by 2 feet.
“We’re moving along,” said Ian Nickey with the Buckeye Lake Dam Improvements Project.
Nickey said this morning stop-logs were placed to close up the spillway and allow the lake to fill up for the summer.
“That will allow the lake level to rise to an interim summer pool which is about one foot below a normal summer pool,” he said. “We’ll have more boating and fishing as well as they’ll be allowed some tow-able water sports, but in a restricted area.”
Rainfall on Wednesday already helped raise water levels by 4-5 inches.
Businesses and neighbors hope this progress continues for the sake of their lake economy.
“It makes me feel very hopeful. I’m a bit of a skeptic though,” said Island House owner John Doneff.
He said he needs the boats to come back to keep his restaurant business afloat.
“People could go belly-up if they have to go much longer,” said Doneff. “It’s extremely important that we get the water and they keep the gates closed.”
He said he’s already lost money in the six-figures because of the low water levels.
“Hopefully when they get it all done things will be bigger and better than ever,” said Doneff. “We’ll wait and see what happens.”
Nickey said the project has also remained on its budget of $110 million. He said construction on phase 2 of the dam project will begin in early April.