Craighead County officials review Bono Lake project

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) – Craighead County Judge Ed Hill addressed members of the Craighead County Quorum Court Monday night regarding several projects underway, including the Bono Lake project.

According to Hill, construction crews with Spurlock, based out of Searcy, have been removing dirt around the south dam because it is not suitable for building a lake. Hill said in order to build a proper dam and slurry wall, the materials need to be able to hold water and not allow seepage.

"If you don't know what's going on out here, you can't see a whole lot of progress. But if you flip it upside down, you'd see a lot of progress," said Hill. "When they voted that tax, like 70 something percent, they committed. So the county is committed to do our part, and I feel like when these people signed a contract, they were committed to do their part. So we're going to work our way through this thing."

Hill told Region 8 News Monday afternoon that several things, some out of anyone's control, have caused setbacks in construction. He said the lake was originally scheduled to open last year, but now it could be next summer.

"We get the slurry wall in and start up out of the ground, it'd be great because then the weather won't impact them as much, because they'd be up here working," said Hill. "You can't predict the weather, but if we have a long building season, we can get a lot done here."

Hill said county officials in the project have been meeting every other week. He told the court Monday night the next meeting is Wednesday at 10:00. He said, in a nutshell, crews need dirt suitable for building a dam. He said the closer the dirt is to the lake, the cheaper the cost would be to haul it.

"We're going to do our part. We've done a lot of work. We've cleared a lot, picked up a lot of dirt. We're willing to haul some lime or whatever to offset our part, but we won't know if there will be an actual cost overrun until we get further along," said Hill. "It's going to take about 50,000 yards for the core of the dam and it's going to take another 50,000 yards for the face upstream, so we're looking at different ways. You can use lime and different things, so that's why we're having these meetings to work out what'd be the most economical."

Hill said the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Arkansas Natural Resources Commission must approve a permit to build a slurry wall. For more information on what a slurry wall is, click here.

"They've been working 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, to get this undercut and move to the north undercut. Like I say, we about got the permit ready for the slurry wall and that'd be the next step," said Hill. "Most people don't understand if you turn what they have done upside down, there would be a big ole dam right now. You got to cut. That's what they call an undercut, you take all the bad soil out, pack it in, rework it, you see what they're doing, they're taking the bad stuff out and they'll put the good stuff in."

Hill estimated the removal of dirt to take another month or so.

"They're about 2-3 weeks out from finishing the undercut on the south part of the foot of the dam, and in about 2-3 weeks, they're going to go to the north part where we've been pumping the water, the underground water and I think we've got that under control and they're going to start doing the undercut on the north end of the dam," said Hill.

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