Repairs to the Lake Fairlee dam will not be made this summer. In spite of the best efforts of the three towns that share Lake Fairlee (Fairlee, Thetford, and West Fairlee) the original schedule proved too ambitious. A plan is in place, however, and we are hoping to remove and replace the dam in the summer of 2015.
Engineering studies have been completed, and initial plans prepared by DuBois & King, consulting engineers. They conducted geologic surveys, collected hydrologic data, and explored construction options and permitting considerations. They provided an initial cost estimates, which PC Construction has refined. The repair will include the placement of a temporary cofferdam, the complete removal of the existing dam, and the installation of a properly engineered dam in the same location. During construction the camp that straddles the middle of the dam will be jacked up, then lowered onto new pilings when the new dam is in place.
This summer DuBois & King will begin the next phase of planning, which involves working with State and Federal permitting agencies to develop final construction plans. Once the final plans are drafted and the permits secured, we will invite bids from qualified construction companies. Then we will select the best proposal, and award a contract for the work, conditioned on the successful passage of the required bond issues. The voters of the three towns will be asked to approve issuance of the bonds and the creation of a joint Lake Fairlee Commission at Town Meeting next March.
The first of a series of public meetings will be held on August 2nd at which interested citizens can see the plans and learn about the proposed agreement among the towns and the cost sharing arrangement. We will explain the economic importance of the lake to the towns, and its impact on property taxes. Three other meetings will be held during the fall.