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Work continues on cove affected by Lake Alice Dam collapse

CUMMING — Work on Little Ridge Cove likely will look a little different in the weeks ahead, but is still expected to be completed on schedule in late January, Cumming officials learned last week.

During its monthly meeting, the City Council voted 5-0 to approve two change orders for the dredging of the cove on Lake Lanier.

“The bottom line is that we’re spending about $13,000 more than our original bids,” said Danny Bennett, city engineer. “Even though we’ve got $60,000 and $29,000 change orders, the net increase to the city is $13,000.”

In November, River Sand Inc. began work removing excess sediment with aquatic excavators and loading it onto trucks that haul it away. However, the sediment has spread to other parts of the lake, making the work impossible to complete with just excavators, or backhoes.

“As a result, the amphibious backhoes cannot reach that silt,” Bennett said. “The further you go, it gets way deeper from the cove.

“With the hoes, they have to relay silt from one hoe to another, so when you get 300 feet down the stream, it’s not feasible to do it with a hoe, so they’re going to have to bring a barge in.”

The work is removing sediment that has flowed into the cove since May 2013, when a nearby earthen dam holding the former Lake Alice collapsed during heavy rain. Since that time, thousands of cubic yards of silt have washed into the cove.

During the bidding process, a separate bid came in suggesting the use of barges, but it was nearly twice as expensive.

Bennett said the second change order that was approved came with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state Environmental Protection Division. The deal will allow the city to handle other work in the cove instead of work upstream from the former Lake Alice.

“We worked some things out with the local jurisdictional authorities that do permitting that allows us to do the work within the cove itself. That resulted in a $29,000 change order,” Bennett said. “… We didn’t do the $76,000 worth of work and we’re having to do $29,000 worth of work, so there’s about a $46,000 savings in the amount of work.”

Work to repair Sanders Road, which was heavily damaged when the dam washed out, and place a new culvert also began in November. The city and Forsyth County government are splitting the $434,000 cost.