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Buckeye Lake Dam Opens Ahead of Schedule and Under Budget

Aerial view of Buckeye Lake Dam - Gannett Fleming.
The Buckeye Lake Dam Improvements project reduced risks for residents and businesses within close proximity to the Class I, high-hazard potential dam.
(Harrisburg, Pa.)

Gannett Fleming provided comprehensive design and construction management services for the Buckeye Lake Dam Improvements project, partnering with Michael Baker International on the largest capital improvements project for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) in the agency’s 70-year history.

“Our team completed the project almost two years ahead of schedule and more than $40 million under budget,” said Robert Kline Jr., PE, Gannett Fleming vice president and deputy manager for the Dams & Hydraulics Practice. “As many as 3,000 people and 2,100 homes downstream were in danger if the dam failed. Our commitment to this project illustrates Gannett Fleming’s goal to provide services that create a safer environment, improve the lives of residents, and help the local economy.”

In 2015, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) deemed the Buckeye Lake Dam at risk of catastrophic failure. In response to the USACE findings, ODNR held the lake’s water to its winter-pool level of more than 2 feet below normal pool to reduce the risk of collapse. A lowered lake pool was maintained through project completion in fall 2018. ODNR chose Gannett Fleming to design and construct interim risk-reduction measures to protect the community.

Key features of the three-year project include:

  • A 30-foot wide raised bank that protects the existing dam embankment and facilitated construction of the cutoff wall
  • A 24-inch wide deep-soil-mix cutoff wall that extends 42 feet below the ground to stop seepage and preserve dam integrity
  • A new 4.1-mile-long buttress wall which provides up to a 100-year protection against dam failure
  • A paved path on top of the new dam that offers vehicle access for inspections.

The enhancements of the Buckeye Lake Dam Remediation reduced risks for residents and businesses within close proximity to the Class I, high-hazard potential dam. The improvements allowed ODNR to restore water levels and boost area business activity that depends on boating, fishing, and tourism.

ODNR hosted a dedication ceremony attended by Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other elected officials to celebrate the opening of the dam in fall 2018.

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