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Lynchburg legislators asking for $5 million to help fix College Lake Dam

Lake overtops College Lake Dam, bridge is damaged after heavy rain in August

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Delegate Scott Garrett and other Lynchburg legislators are pushing for a $5 million amendment proposal to help start work on the College Lake Dam.

“I feel very confident that we’re going to get a fair hearing and a fair understanding for the sort of this complexities and nuances of this particular request," Garrett said.

In August, College Lake Dam was deemed a high hazard after heavy rain caused the lake to overtop, damaging parts of the bridge and leading to the evacuation of 120 homes. Five months later, problems still exist for the city.

"The repairs we made are not as structurally sound as the original dam was. So we do have concerns about it overtopping again and causing issues downstream," Tim Mitchell, director of the Water Resources Department, said.

Since August, the city has been updating its emergency action plan, installing sensors at the lake to monitor water levels and it is currently working to install cameras to view and monitor the lake 24/7.

If lawmakers approve the $5 million request for permanent repairs, Lynchburg will have to match it, making it a $10 million project.

The total price tag to fix the dam ranges from $40 million to $50 million.

"That would be specifically related to the dam removal, lake bed restoration, sediment stabilization and removal, if necessary -- not the bridge," Mitchell said.

In Richmond, Lynchburg legislators have a short time to get everyone on their committees on board. Budgets come out on Sunday.

“Certainly, by the end of February, we will have an answer about what the state is willing to do or is able to do," Garrett said.