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Dam Reconstruction Will Begin Soon

Aerial view of Bachman Lake Dam with labeled features

Dallas Water Utilities (DWU), operators of the City's first water treatment plant, is moving forward with the Bachman Lake dam reconstruction that will bring much needed upgrades to the 100+year-old structure. What will this mean for park patrons and trail users?

Image depicts an example of a spillway design for better flow control
An example of a spillway design for better flow control

In short, the dam will be thickened and will feature a shallow slope to minimize ground erosion. There will be a new, wider (12ft) trail atop the dam that features a winding and more gentle slope toward street level.

The auxiliary spillway to the east will also be bolstered so that water can be properly discharged using a zig-zag design that reduces the speed of the flow. The old spillway is surrounded by overgrown vegetation, invasive tree species and has been unable to discharge properly, flooding areas to the north. While tree removal might sound alarming to park patrons, the area in question abuts the water treatment facility not accessible to park goers, plus there is an extensive landscaping plan in place that will create a new trail "that will be beautiful", according to DWU Senior Project Manager, Mark Mihm. As Friends of Bachman Lake, we also recommend that future plans include a creative way to green up and beautify the view of the spillway and adjacent facilities from various points along the dam.

As far as walkers, bikers and joggers are concerned, there will be changes to the loop trail around the park. When construction begins, the current trail over the dam and down toward Denton Drive will be closed and users on the Northwest Highway side of the park will be diverted to a street level path from just before the playground area, then along Bachman Drive behind the playground and recreation center, over to Webb Chapel Extension (see green loop in image below). Along Webb Chapel Extension (yellow loop in image), the northbound lane will be closed to car traffic. The path will turn toward Denton Drive where it will meet up with the original trail just past the dam toward Shorecrest (see purple loop below). The sidewalk along Denton Drive will be widened and fenced to protect pedestrians from automobile traffic. This trail detour will be in place for two years.

Sketch of Bachman Lake trail diversion during dam reconstruction
Sketch of Bachman Lake trail diversion during dam reconstruction

As with the now-completed dredging, these improvements to Bachman Lake Park are both necessary and forward-thinking, despite the temporary inconveniences. With the skate park construction also beginning this fall, exciting things are continuing to happen! Even if the path gets crooked once in a while, as long as it moves forward toward progress, we're completely on board with that.

Image depicting upgraded trail lighting similar to what the project aims to install
Image depicting upgraded trail lighting similar to what is being considered

For more information about the project, visit where you can ask questions of DWU about what's next. You can also access a quick project timeline.

A copy of the presentation which also includes more renditions of the upcoming skate park can be viewed/downloaded via this link.




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