Residents of southeastern Walton County as well as others traveling through the area will soon get a clearer sense of the scope of the 1,400 acre Hard Labor Creek Regional Reservoir project.
Construction crews on Monday will begin clear cutting the area that will be filled by the lake, Project Manager Jimmy Parker told the Reservoir Management Board at its regular meeting yesterday afternoon at the Walton County Government Building in Monroe.
Crews with construction firm Layne Heavy Civil will work for the next six to eight months, Parker said, clearing the reservoir basin. They will cut trees 18 to 24 inches above the ground and leave the stumps.
Residents and others using the roads can expect to encounter lots of timber trucks hauling the trees to mills for processing, Parker said.
Change In Landscape
Parker said four to six clearing crews will start at Social Circle Fairplay Road, with half going south from that point and half going north.
“That is going to drastically change the landscape in that part of the county,” Parker said. “It will change a lot of folk’s view of that area as they drive through.”
Layne will build some roads to get the logs out, but mostly it will utilize existing roads, Parker said.
The short video below gives more detail of what Parker told the Board.
Layne will retain revenue from the timber it harvests in clearing the land for the reservoir as part of its contract.
Construction of the dam for the reservoir is underway and should be completed by January of 2015, according to Parker.
The Management Board granted a contract for $17.8 million to low bidder Layne Heavy Civil Inc. in July of last year for construction of the reservoir.
The company has offices in Fairburn in Fulton County but operates globally and has its corporate headquarters in Woodlands, Texas.
Once the dam is completed, it will take two to three years for the reservoir to fill, Parker said yesterday.
The reservoir is on Hard Labor Creek, northeast of Social Circle.
$170 Million Project
The $170 million project is being funded by Walton and Oconee counties, which plan to use water from the reservoir in the future as needs dictate.
At present, no firm plans have been put forward for construction of a treatment plant or of the water transmission lines that will carry the water to the two counties, and the counties will have to borrow additional money to construct those facilities.
The intake structure for the treatment plant is being constructed at the same time as the dam so it can be completed before water begins to fill the reservoir.
Parker told the Board that the coffer dam, washed out in heavy rains in December, has been restored, and blasting and excavation for the chute spillway is now 70 percent complete.
Horse Trail Relocation
The Management Board yesterday voted to spend up to $10,000 to relocate a horse trail in Heritage Park in southern Oconee County.
As part of the mitigation requirements resulting from destruction of streams and wetlands for the reservoir, the Management Board had to do restoration of streams and wetlands outside the reservoir basin.
One of the chosen sites was Heritage Park, where a number of horse and bicycle trails had to be relocated.
One of the horse trails has proven to be steep and slippery, making it dangerous for horses and riders, Parker said. The plan is to create switchback to fix the problem.