Clinton Lake Road work blocks some areas

Corps of engineers will try to minimize disruptions

April 19, 2010

Contractors for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are in a race against time — and leisure plans — when it comes to repairing, resurfacing and replacing roads leading to Clinton Lake boat ramps, parking lots and campgrounds.

The next big deadline: Memorial Day.

“This’ll definitely impact a few people,” said Sue Gehrt, the corps’ operations project manager at the lake. “We’re going to need a little patience this summer.”

The ongoing $1.8 million project represents the first major overhaul for a pavement network that’s been in place since the lake opened in 1979. Paved areas that have received only rudimentary attention for decades now will get the work they need to endure for decades to come.

All four boat ramps will be resurfaced. Parking lots will be patched and, where necessary, rebuilt. Entire sections of roads will be replaced and in some cases widened.

Gehrt acknowledges that inconveniences for people — from daily visitors to overnight campers — will be unavoidable.

“We’re doing a little bit of everything,” she said.

Among the most pressing work already under way is along the road that leads into the Hickory and Walnut campgrounds, which together provide 251 campsites. The road is shut down for reconstruction, expected to last until May 21.

That likely will displace about 11 campers who already had reserved sites, Gehrt said. They will be offered opportunities to relocate to the nearby Cedar campground instead.

The Bloomington Beach Road also is set for reconstruction — a project she hopes will be finished by Memorial Day, which is May 31. Until then, people will need to walk up to three-tenths of a mile across a grass field to get to the beach, shelters and other features.

The corps and its contractor, Bettis Asphalt, are working to keep inconveniences to a minimum, Gehrt said. At least one boat ramp will remain open during work, and some main roads — including the entry road into the park, from Douglas County Road 6 — will maintain at least one lane for traffic.

“We have to rebuild it,” Gehrt said of the access road. “It’s totally shot.”

Sometimes, complete closure cannot be avoided, she said. Case in point: a stretch of the road below the Clinton Lake dam, feeding into the city’s Clinton Lake Golf Course and Off-Leash Dog Park.

While the northern section of that road was rebuilt last summer, the southern portion — south of the entrance to the golf course — will be closed, likely beginning in late June and continuing into August.

“People will just have to go a bit out of their way,” Gehrt said, noting that people could still cross the dam from the south, then turn back onto the dam’s “toe road” to get to the golf course or dog park.

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