LAKE LAWTONKA, OK (KSWO) - Repairs to the dam at Lake Lawtonka are on the way as Lawton City Council recently voted to approve bidding on the project. The $1.8 million repairs are funded by FEMA and the city.
It was a different scene at Lake Lawtonka's dam two years ago. Lake levels rose five feet from all the rain that fell in Spring 2015. Tree branches got caught in the gates causing some serious damage.
Lawton's Water and Wastewater Director AJ Jabbar has been looking at the list of repairs since then Fighting to get the project going. Two gates that were broken the heavy rain, seals on all 8 gates, and overload protection are the main things listed on this project.
Jabbar said the overload protection could prevent the gates from failing like they did two years ago.
"As the motors are working and when the torque goes up because they see something that's not supposed to be there, they feel it. And they stop the operation of the motor," Jabbar said.
Jabbar said making these repairs now, especially on the seals that keep the water from leaking out, will help in the long run.
"In a time of drought, we would be losing water," Jabbar said. "That is the worst thing that could happen to us."
Jabbar said while the money for this project has been approved, she knows money is tight with the city. But she says her department has worked to be financially efficient with these much-needed repairs.
"We had people come in from California to look at the drive mechanism to make sure what we are ordering can be installed without too much hassle," Jabbar said. "So we have done our due diligence to lower the cost."
Jabbar said FEMA approved to help with funding on the two gates that were damaged in the rains two years ago. They won't know how much FEMA will contribute until they get closer to construction time.
The project is expected to start within three to seven months. Because they're working on one gate at a time to cut costs, construction is expected to take six months.