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County should learn from Robins Lake dam

Local officials may wish they had a time machine to return to the day when the county decided to adopt the road on Robins Lake dam.

Unfortunately, no such time machine exists. As a result, county officials face a series of difficult choices to fix the problem.

In January, torrential rains threatened to breach the levee under the road, causing the road to slough off and expose culverts inside the dam.

Leaders eager to find a solution to fix the problem have discovered that a permanent fix is neither simple nor cheap.

More than a million dollars would be needed to fix the project and Emergency Watershed Protection funds are apparently not available because any work would involve rebuilding a dam that is privately owned.

This week supervisors were told that state dam inspectors recommend officials do away with the dam and the 50-acre lake. To do so would also cost more than $1 million and risk angering residents that enjoy living around the lake.

Other solutions, include removing and rebuilding the dam to adequately drain the lake, building a bridge in place of the dam or closing the road altogether.

County Engineer Jim Marlow said the state has already mandated the road be closed and has ruled out rebuilding the road to the way it was before the storm.

Repairing the road back to its previous condition risks an eventual dam break in the future.

As a result, supervisors have been left with unpalatable choices — options that would either anger lake residents, county taxpayers or both.

We hope that supervisors can find a solution that fixes the problem once and for all and that officials now understand the costs of adopting roads that are not built to appropriate standards.