Peachtree City to lose its lake again this summer

Lake Peachtree. File Photo.

Time is approaching for the construction of the new spillway and dam on Lake Peachtree. Construction will begin this coming August and end in May 2018. The project will also bring the temporary lowering of Lake Peachtree.

Integrated Science and Engineering President Dan Davis provided a project update to the Peachtree City Council on April 6. Compliant with Category I dam standards, the project will begin in late August and will be accompanied by the lowering of Lake Peachtree by eight feet.

Removing water from the lake is a necessity for the project and will take a few weeks. Then will come the construction of a temporary coffer dam so that the actual spillway, known as a piano key weir, can be constructed a short distance away at the site of the current spillway. Construction of the coffer dam will take approximately four weeks. Once completed, beginning in late October, the water level in Lake Kedron will be lowered by two feet for safety purposes while the level in Lake Peachtree will be raised two feet.

Construction of the new spillway foundation will run from November through January, though that time frame is contingent on the weather. Also in January, the plan is to raise Lake Peachtree another two feet.

Construction of the spillway will occur in February through May, again dependent on weather conditions.

The project is expected to be complete in May, at which time Lake Peachtree and Lake Kedron will be returned to full pool.

The construction estimate rose from $3.46 million to the current $4.075 million. Of that amount and by prior agreement, Fayette County will contribute $2 million to the project. Peachtree City will be responsible for the $2.075 million remainder.

While the city has $1.95 million assigned to the project from SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) revenues that will begin collections in coming months, City Manger Jon Rorie at the April 6 council meeting recommended obtaining a low-interest loan from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority for the project since it will soon begin.

Rorie said GEFA loans customarily carry an intest rate of 1-2 percent and the ability to be paid off early with no penalty.

“The idea is to create cash flow,” Rorie said of the rationale of securing a loan, since SPLOST revenues will only begin coming in early fall and the spillway project will begin in late summer and is expected to be complete by late spring 2018.

Davis told council members the reason for the project cost increase was due to a variety of factors. Those included having detailed quantities of materials needed, the increasing cost of concrete and a tightening labor market.

Adding to that, Davis said there are only 10 specialized contractors in the Southeast that can do the work, and some of those are busy and turning away work.

Davis noted that the concrete alone, with 3,840 cubic yards needed for the project, will cost approximately $2.8 million.