Lake work remains on schedule

Published 6:00 am Friday, January 20, 2006

MEADVILLE – May will be an important month at Okhissa Lake ifmany of the U.S. Forest Service projects are completed onschedule.

Access roads to the lake from Highway 98, installation of waterlines and other projects are scheduled to be completed by May, saidTim Sloane, deputy district ranger for the U.S. Forest Service,which oversees the lake project.

District Ranger Tim Reed said the overall project is on coursefor its scheduled 2007 opening.

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“Our current focus is to see the necessary infrastructure -roads, water and sewage – in place to support continued developmentand to have enough facilities operational in 2007 so that the lakecan be opened to the public once it reaches full pool,” Reedsaid.

Road projects at the lake are divided into two phases, Sloanesaid.

Phase I, to be completed by May, consists of entrance turnlanes, roads to the primary day use zone and partial constructionof roadway segments across the dam to the eastern side of the lake.The contract is being administered by the Federal HighwayAdministration.

“Phase I has about two miles of roads in it,” Sloane said.

Phase I also includes preparation work for a large causeway.Crews are compacting the shore line and installing riprap toprevent erosion.

Phase II consists of an additional five miles of roadway aroundthe dam and the eastern side of the lake.

The engineering and design work have been completed, Sloanesaid, but the work has not been contracted. Construction on PhaseII will begin in future years when the funding is appropriated.

The installation of water lines to supply water for developmentsaround the lake is also under way and expected to be completed byMay, Sloane said.

Contractors are presently laying the trunk line, which willfollow Berrytown Road and Ruby Lane Road, across the lake to itswestern shore and then run north to the dam. A 1,700-foot sectionof the line will run across the bottom of the lake.

The crews are still laying the trunk line of the eastern side ofthe lake, Sloane said.

“They’re maybe 20 to 25 percent complete (on the trunk line).It’s moving along on schedule,” he said.

Present funding is only sufficient to lay the trunk line, Sloanesaid. The Okhissa Lake Sewage District Board of Directors isseeking more funding to lay the feeder lines that will run to therestroom facilities, drinking fountains and other services, as wellas for a waste water collection and treatment system.

“The Forest Service has some money for that, but it probablywon’t be enough to complete it,” Sloane said.

Many of the fisheries projects, such as stocking andconstructing habitat structures, will be completed throughout 2006,he said.

Construction of a boat ramp, parking area and restroom facilityis expected to begin by mid-summer.

“That will be our focus for ’06 for the day use area,” hesaid.

Funding has been appropriated for those projects. Additionalstructures will be constructed as funding becomes available.

The solicitation of private partnership proposals for additionalrecreational developments around the lake is expected to occurearly in 2007.

“I don’t expect us to work on that in ’06,” Sloane said. “Weneed to get more of our infrastructure complete to generate moreinterest.”

Sloane said he believes the original proposal drew no responsebecause there was no infrastructure to support any development. Heexpects the original prospectus, modified to meet projected needs,would be offered again in early 2007.