State says Buckeye Lake dam could be completed early, under budget


Life on the North side of Buckeye Lake has been anything but tranquil for homeowners.

Since 2015 their homes have been gated from the water and then there was the constant sound of truck traffic as crews worked to rebuild the dam.

In 2015, The Army Corps of Engineers said it had a high likelihood of a catastrophic failure because more than 370 homes and other structures were sunk into the 4.1-mile earthen dam embankment.

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Debbie Turpening moved to the lake five years ago before the construction began, and it's not the lake life she imagined.

"We've had this fence in front of our house for a long time there's no access the lake you can't take very long walks because the walkway is cut off," she said.

The state says the dam will be finished by this November. The water levels should return to summer pool by the spring of next year.

Bill Ghiz of Powell also owns a home here. He's looking forward to enjoying the finished project.

"As a taxpayer of Ohio I think it's dollars well spent because they are protecting an asset that the state has here that is unique to the country," he said.

Originally the state said it would complete this project in five years at a cost of $150 million, now it says it can complete it in three years at a cost of $110 million.

Since construction began in 2015, there's been a dark cloud over the project.

Homeowners who wanted to sell found it difficult when construction started.

Boaters fled the area, and business's suffered financially.

The finished project is designed to have a 4.1-mile bike path on top of the dam.

Homeowners will have curbs outside their homes.

Boat docks will no longer be attached to the dam.

The entire beautification project-- which includes grass-- is expected to be finished by the spring of next year.

In addition to the cost of rebuilding the dam at Buckeye Lake, the state spent an additional $317 million repairing other dams across the state including Indian Lake and Lake Loramie State Park.