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Lake life

UPDATE: Tainter gate dedication POSTPONED

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UPDATE  2:23 p.m. Tuesday
According to the DOTD, Thursday’s planned Tainter Gate dedication has been POSTPONED!
We will let you know when we get updated information.
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The If you look back through enough old documents on Lake D’Arbonne, you’ll find that the original plans recommended a “tainter gate” structure to somewhat help alleviate high water in extreme conditions. You’ll also find that it was “just too expensive”. Boy, what they didn’t know then…. the design of Lake D’Arbonne makes consistent water level management almost impossible because of the huge amount of area that drains through the basin. And a tainter gate then would have been about 1/10th of what it is now.
But as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the lake, a Tainter Gate has finally become a reality. The Lake Commission will be holding a dedication ceremony for the new structure on the East Side (Farmerville side) of the spillway in the old park area this Thursday, Dec. 5, at 1 p.m. It would be nice to have a good turnout to show everyone involved how appreciative the community is.
“The gate already seems to be showing an impact,” said commission president Steve Cagle of Farmerville. “With recent rains like we have seen, we have had rises in the water level of a foot or more. We didn’t see that, so the spillover design at 80 feet does help.”
Additionally, the gate will be opened by the Louisiana Department of Transportation when the lake is predicted to reach 82.5 feet. A lot of time, effort and money have been put into the project. The $6.4 million price tag is more than TWICE what it cost to construct the entire lake originally.
“When the demonstrated it about a month ago, it was amazing how fast it worked,” Cagle said. “In just a few minutes, they had a foot of water flowing out of the gate. Compared to watching it take a half day to painstakingly open one of the old gates, it was amazing.”
There are a lot of thank you’s needed from the commission members to the Riley Engineering and Foote Construction to all our elected officials like Sen. Mike Walsworth, Rep. Rob Shadoin and former Rep. Hollis Downs all the way up to Governor Bobby Jindal.
“This won’t stop every one of the lake’s problems, but we do hope it helps a lot,” Cagle said.
The $6.4 million project to install the tainter gate was started in April, 2011 and was originally expected to take a year and a half before weather and flooding delays. A tainter gate is a type of radial arm floodgate used in dams to control water flow. In periods of high water, it should help drain the lake much faster and help prevent flooding to low-lying homes on the lake.
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In other Lake Commission news, Cagle was recently renamed President. He has been on the commission for 13 years and has been president for five of those. Joe Rainer will become secretary/treasurer taking over for Terri Towns and Don Hogan will be vice president, taking over from Noel James. The group also voted to hold meetings once every other month instead of every month beginning in 2014. Meetings will still be held on the third Monday of the month at 6:30 in the courthouse annex, but only during January, March, May, July, September and November.

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