Dow Lake Dam In Athens To Get Rehabbed

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A $2.9 million repair of Dow Lake dam near Athens is slated to get under way this week.

Although the dam at Strouds Run State Park was recently named a high-risk dam, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said Friday he does not believe the public should have safety concerns.

“There is not an immediate threat,” said spokesman John Wisse.

Strouds Run State Park has a Class I dam, meaning that if there were a failure of the dam there would be probable loss of life. Within that classification, there are risk categories of low, moderate, high and very high. Wisse said the Dow Lake dam was recently changed from moderate to high.

The dam was built in 1959. Several deep slides have been observed on the dam, requiring temporary repairs of the embankment over the past two years, according to ODNR.

The project will widen the top of the dam by 50 feet, and decrease the slope of the downstream face of the embankment, according to a description of the project on the ODNR website. Wisse said the work on the slope will correct a “slumping situation.”

Also, the toe drain system will be replaced and a chimney drain system added to the embankment during widening.

Wisse said that the parking lot, located off Route 50 just east of Athens, will be closed Monday and the contractor, Thompson Excavating, will begin moving in equipment. The project is slated to be completed in September, he said.

Construction work will impact a number of hiking trails, according to ODNR, with sections of the Hickory, Lakeview, Indian Mound and Sundown trails closed at times during the project.

Signs will be posted to alert visitors when trail areas are temporarily closed, and updated information will be posted on the park’s web page at, according to ODNR.