New US$8.9 million structure will replace failed Hope Mills Lake Dam in N.C.

The town of Hope Mills, N.C., has contracted Schnabel Engineering and ASI Constructors to rebuild the thrice-failed Hope Mills Lake Dam with a new US$8.9 million structure.

The new structure is expected to be completed by spring 2017.

According to ASI and Schnabel, the new dam will be a labyrinth design featuring a zig-zag pattern of concrete walls.

Del Shannon, of ASI, in a published report said, “the labyrinth design is smaller, there would be more of the lake left and the structure would present less risk of failure.”

The old structure was a roller-compacted-concrete gravity dam about 33 ft in height by 750 ft in length. It impounded Little Rockfish Creek creating Hope Mills Lake, which has a capacity of 816-acre ft.

ASI, according to the company, was hired for design-build services for the dam’s rehabilitation and upgrade.

Published records indicate the initial version of the dam built in 1839 was a rock-crib design. It is not immediately known when, but the dam failed after flooding. It’s second version, an earthen-embankment dam built in 1924, failed after a 2003 storm during the weekend of Memorial Day, according to city officials.  The 2003 version was replaced in 2008 for about $14 million.

The 2008 version of the dam failed in June 2010, less than two years after it was completed.

According to local news reports, in 2014 the town received a $9.4 million settlement with the designers and builders of the 2008 failed-dam and subsequently contracted for its new facility using the settlement funds.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new dam was held in late April and according to town officials, some of the concrete that is left when the old dam is demolished will be used for berms around the new structure.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for

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