Along with a small number of residents and property owners in the potentially impacted area, the Town of Lake Lure received communications last month from the North Carolina Department of Transportation that it planned to build a new bridge across the Lake Lure Dam.
Not surprisingly, citizens who received the letter voiced concern, as did members of the Lake Lure Town Council.
Following a requested meeting with NCDOT officials in mid-August, we now know much more than we did from the initial letter.
The good news is this:
According to NCDOT officials in the meeting, town officials have been told that a bridge facility over the dam or east of the dam seemed most likely and that a bridge design utilizing Neighborly Drive seemed less likely.
Additionally, NCDOT intends to schedule a public meeting in Lake Lure about the bridge project next summer.
Following is the latest information learned during the meeting with NCDOT and the Town of Lake Lure:
Background leading up to the request for a meeting with NCDOT
The initial communication about the proposed bridge first came to citizens and the town in the form of a letter, dated June 24, 2016, but only received by the Town of Lake Lure and others in the early part of August. The letter, sent to residents on and around Neighborly Drive, addressed information related to conceivably replacing the bridge that spans the existing Lake Lure Dam. And while the dam and the lake are owned by the Town of Lake Lure, the bridge over it is owned by NCDOT.
Following receipt of the letter, the Town's Asset Management Advisory Board and the Town of Lake Lure asked for the meeting with representatives from NCDOT to learn more about the proposed project. Those present with DOT officials were Commissioner John Moore, Vice-Chair of Zoning and Planning, Charlie Ellis, Town Manager Ron Nalley and Shannon Baldwin, Community Development Director).
Prior to the meeting the town submitted 21 questions to NCDOT officials. The questions were compiled by concerned citizens, the council, members of the town's appointed boards and town staff. NCDOT officials responded to all 21 questions.
From the questions submitted, we learned the following additional
information about this project and about our existing bridge over the Lake Lure Dam.
Town Council and staff will keep citizens informed as this project develops.
About the Lake Lure Dam:
Construction of the dam began in 1925. It was completed in September 1926 and the creation of the lake began.
The full impoundment of Lake Lure was completed in 1927.
The power plant began operations in 1928 with the sale of electricity under a 10-year contract to Blue Ridge Power Co., the predecessor of Duke Power Co.
The town continues even today to contract with Duke Power for the sale of electricity.