College Lake Dam removal set to begin in early 2024

The hope is to have the project complete by Dec. 2025

LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Hill City is ready to move forward with removing the College Lake Dam, a project they’ve been planning for years.

The dam was built in 1934 and has served the area for quite some time, but in recent years, the dam has grown more and more hazardous.

In 2018, the dam was pushed nearly to its limit. A significant rainstorm dumped over the city and the dam almost failed.

Erin Hawkins with Lynchburg Water Resources remembers the day like it was yesterday.

“That evening there was a lot of uncertainty, but we were very fortunate that it didn’t actually completely breech,” Hawkins said.

Fast forward to the present day, the city has completed the construction of a new Lakeside Drive Bridge and now attention turns to removing the dam.

The plan consists of slowly draining the lake, constructing new wetlands, and restoring previous ones in its place. The main channel of the Blackwater Creek will meander through them before eventually continuing downstream. A significant amount of sediment will be removed using specialized equipment, and extra care is being shown to the ecosystem as a whole.

“Once the dam is removed, we see that happening in the first part of the new calendar year…then we’ll start the restoration efforts to put a stream in channel back in what used to be a lake-bed area. This will go over about the next 24 months,” Hawkins said.

The hope is to have the project complete by Dec. 2025. Lynchburg Water Resources wants the final product to look like a lake was never there to begin with.

About the Author:

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.