Lake Williams dam construction to start in early April

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

York Water Co.'s Lake Williams Dam is set to be renovated throughout the end of this year and through much of 2023.

“The existing earthen dam, built in 1912, does not meet 21st-century engineering design, public safety and flow capacity standards," said project manager Steve Metzler. "The new spillway will be built on solid rock and incorporate modern engineering design and construction techniques to last for another 100-plus years.”

The road over York Water Company's Lake Williams Dam remains closed Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. According to a news release, company is planning to install an access road on the south side of the dam starting Wednesday, Nov. 3. The stone-based road, slated to be completed by the end of the year, will provide equipment access to the downstream area of the dam, to facilitate York Water’s dam rehabilitation work in 2022. Construction will affect Trails 4 and 4A which will be closed beyond the Upland Hardwood Trail to Nixon County Park. Bill Kalina photo

Demolition and construction activities are expected to start on or after April 4, according to JT Hand, York Water's president. Much of the work through 2022 will consist of demolition of the existing dam, with reconstruction work starting later in the year.

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This year will see the existing bridge removed, the dismantling and removal of the existing spillway and the abandonment of the control works adjacent to the dam on the vacated section of Water Street.

The dam is expected to be completed in November 2023.

Although the construction will interrupt water recreation and trails around the perimeter of Lake Williams, York Water will construct a new quarter-mile connecting trail between Trail 2 and Trail 4. It is expected to be open once a construction permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is received for the stream crossing.

Lake Williams is now mostly empty of water in preparation for demolition activities.

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"York Water recognizes this condition will impact boating and fishing for the next two summer seasons," according to the company's written statement. "However, it is imperative that the public stay out of the lakebed and other hazardous areas."

Anyone trespassing on private property construction locations can be cited by rangers with the York County Department of Parks and Recreation.

A little more than a month after York Water Company announced the end of phase one construction at Lake Williams, the lake is showing signs of rebounding as water from the East Branch of the Codorus Creek slowly fills the impoundment, Monday, August 12, 2019. Popular for kayaking and fishing, York Water Co. says the lake will be open for activities as soon as mother nature fills it back up. John A. Pavoncello photo

York Water Co. also plans to plant evergreen and hardwood seedlings in disturbed areas previously timbered for construction. A number of the larger hardwood logs were donated to the Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education for its rebuilding project.

For more information on the dam construction, visit the York Water Co. website.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.