HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — The 100-year-old City Lake dam in High Point is getting a much-needed safety check and makeover.
Crews have begun phase one in protecting one of the city’s main sources of water.
“It’s a great a huge resource for our water, and so we want to continue to be able to provide that and … not have to solely rely on water from somewhere else,” City of High Point Public Services Director Robby Stone said.
The dam on Arnold Koonce City Lake in City Lake Park was built in the 1920s.
Stone said it helped create what is now considered the city’s primary water supply.
“When this thing was built, there were little to no regulations … We’re looking at downstream impacts,” Stone said. “So worst case scenarios, if there were a catastrophic failure, what’s the downstream impacts?”
The dam is not currently failing and is said to be structurally sound.
Despite this, through regular dam safety inspections and reports submitted to the state, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality deemed it does not meet current dam safety standards.
The city decided to build a new dam rather than repair the current one due to cost.
“The new dam will be just downstream of the existing dam, so the existing dam will act as a cofferdam … It’ll hold back the water so that we can construct the new dam,” Stone said. “Once the new dam is constructed, the old dam will be … at least partially demoed so that the water can access overtop and flow to the new dam.”
High Point acquired two properties on Knollwood Drive in Jamestown for the project. One has already been demolished, and the other will take place soon.
The estimated cost for the new dam is $40 to $50 million.
Survey crews are visiting the dam now through the end of the year, gathering information and data.
They will also have a drilling rig that will go down the bottom of the spillway and drill through the concrete foundation of the dam.
“So we have a better understanding of the foundations and the depth, the foundations that need to be installed,” Stone said.
Information gathered from the fieldwork will help in the design phase for the new dam.
“Anywhere from one year to 18 months of design,” Stone said.
As survey crews work on the beginning phase of this project, the City of High Point estimates construction of the new dam will start in two years.
They are still considering funding options for the new dam, which could be through a bond or a grant.