Lewisville dam repairs lead to closure of popular recreation area

water released from dam
Water is released from the Lewisville Dam outlet located in the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area in 2018. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)

Water is released from the Lewisville Dam outlet located in the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area in 2018. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)

Repairs to the Lewisville Lake Dam continue this week with a minor inconvenience for Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area visitors.

Access is being blocked off from East Jones Street each weekday to the LLELA parking, the organization’s pavilion, the Bittern Marsh Trail and the east side of the Trinity River’s Elm Fork until at least July 3, according to representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers and the LLELA.

The closures come as the Army Corps of Engineers continue local repairs as part of a six-year, $150 million dam maintenance project.

“Jones Street is not closed, per se,” said Clay Church, an Army Corps of Engineers public affairs specialist. “It’s just you can’t access the area you used to be able to if you were there a few months ago. That’s new dam safety modification construction.”

Other areas around the LLELA remain open, according to Restoration Manager Richard Freiheit. Up-to-date information is available from the area’s website.

“We are open with certain areas that are temporarily shut down,” Freiheit said. “Some are short-term and more are long-term, partially weather related and of course with coronavirus. They have all impacted their timetable, I’m sure.”

Freiheit added there will be some financial impact to the LLELA, which is jointly operated by the Army Corps of Engineers, the University of North Texas and Lewisville ISD, but he could not quantify the specific impact.

Church said the dam continues to function as intended in its role of holding in reservoir water for the communities surrounding it and is fulfilling its role in preventing flooding downstream. However, repairs are necessary to enhance the dam’s long-term viability.

The cities of Lewisville, Flower Mound and Highland Village as well as other communities in Denton, Dallas and Collin counties all depend on the lake for municipal water while a wider swath of the metroplex–including the downtown Dallas area itself–is vulnerable to lake flooding, according to documents from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Church said repairs around East Jones Street focus on dam seepage, while a second phase of the project will repair the spillway and prevent water from eroding the dam over time.

“Part of the design of the dam and the spillway is to ensure that does not happen,” Church said. “One of the things we’ve looked at over the years is to strengthen the [dam and spillway] so that there’s not any problem in the future.”


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