Photo: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ $1 million construction project on Norfork Lake at Tecumseh includes rebuilding the roadway, parking lot and boat ramp that were destroyed in the historical 2017 floods. Work on the delayed project has resumed at the access, as seen in this photo by Times reporter Jessi Dreckman on the south side of the Highway 160 bridge.
Work has resumed on the Tecumseh access rebuilding project, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager Mark Case. The most recent flood caused minor damage and delays, Case tells the Ozark County Times, but area residents should see more progress soon. The bigger issue has been the high lake level that has kept the area submerged over the summer.
The project began in January, and the original project timeline for completion was mid-May. Work was halted sometime last spring, due to the high lake levels.
The park and its lake access were heavily damaged when the North Fork of the White River and Bryant Creek, which merge a short distance north of the park, reached an all-time high in late April 2017, rising in an unbelievable torrent that roared over the Highway 160 bridge at Tecumseh during an historic area-wide flood.
The access and adjoining campground remained hidden beneath the swollen lake water until October 2017. After the water finally receded, it was apparent the access had been impacted in a huge way. The asphalt of the roadway and parking lot was ripped away from the earth, much of it swept away in the water. The boat ramp was completely gone, the campground and pit toilets were destroyed, and the lakeside banks had become a treacherous mess of debris, holes and uneven ground.
After assessing the damage over a two-month span in November and December 2017, the Corps developed a plan and cost estimate for renovating the area. The new plan, estimated to cost $1 million, includes rebuilding the roadway, parking lot and boat ramp but not the campground. Instead, the Corps plans to clean up all the debris and plant the access area in flood-resistant trees and vegetation. The campground will not be rebuilt.
The new boat ramp will be slightly larger than the previous ramp. The parking area, located just above the boat ramp, will also be replaced.
A portable toilet and solar light will be installed, providing users with a bathroom and lighted access at night.
During a February 2018 meeting, the Corps presented the new plan and cost estimate to about 70 local residents at The Center in Gainesville. At that time, work was scheduled to begin in December 2019 with an estimated completion date of April 2020. Case says the Corps is now hoping the project can be completed by spring or summer 2021.
A barricade was installed in March 2018 to deter residents from driving vehicles down to the access. It was opened for several months, when other lake accesses in the area were underwater. It’s now closed again and will likely remain so until work is complete. However, fisherman can access the area by foot.
For more information about the project, contact the Corps’ Mountain Home office at 1-870-425-2700 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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