By Rick Miller
Crews from Union Concrete and Construction were at work Monday on concrete piers and abutments for the $6 million Red House Lake dam/bridge project.
The crews had been temporarily sidelined by high water levels in Red House Lake from storms. Delivery of three sections of a precast concrete bridge was delayed due to the storms.
“The majority of the site has been stabilized for the upcoming winter shutdown period, with the exception being the spillway and bridge area,” according to Allegany State Park Manager Thomas Livak.
The bridge was originally scheduled to arrive in mid- November, but will now arrive the week of Dec. 11, he said. They will likely be placed over the dam and spillway that week. The dam and original bridge were built in 1930.
“The precast bridge units were completed at the concrete plants on schedule and are awaiting delivery,” Livak said. “The storms were significant enough to cause the lake level to rise, preventing some of the concrete work on the piers and bridge abutments.”
Otherwise, a minimum flow is maintained in Red House Creek through pipes that were installed at the bottom of the dam.
Livak said high water twice suspended work on the spillway area for a total of about two weeks.
“Crews are back today (Monday) and anticipate completing the concrete installations and repairs on the piers and bridge abutments over the next two weeks in preparation for the placing of the precast bridge units,” Livak said.
After the bridge is placed on the piers and abutments, the project will be shut down for the winter.
Livak said the November weather delayed the start of the winter shutdown and will not impact the overall project completion schedule.
The drawdown of Red House Lake began Sept. 8. Repairs to the dam and spillway are expected to be made in the spring and the lake allowed to return to its original level in time for the start of the 2018 summer camping season.
The lake currently covers about one-third its usual size. The original creek beds as they flowed before the area was flooded 87 years ago are visible in some places.
The detour around Red House Lake will continue until the road is reconstructed in the spring.
Work has also concluded for the winter shutdown on the downslope of the earthen dam and the stones that line a portion of the lakeside of the dam.