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Lake Ralph Hall: One year after groundbreaking ‘Water for the People’ vision becoming reality
By Upper Trinity Regional Water District
Jul 5, 2022
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Construction of Lake Ralph Hall hits one-year anniversary

Lewisville, TX  – After breaking ground on Lake Ralph Hall last June, the Upper Trinity Regional Water District (Upper Trinity) reports considerable progress after just one year.

Named after the late longtime U.S. Congressman Ralph M. Hall, the newest reservoir to be built in Texas is located on the North Sulphur River in southeast Fannin County, just north of the City of Ladonia.

Major tasks currently underway include constructing a 1.1-mile pedestrian friendly State Highway 34 bridge, rerouting a portion of FM 1550 and building an earthen dam to create the reservoir.

“Flatiron Construction is about 50% complete with the roadway relocations and construction of the new Hwy 34 bridge over the North Sulphur River. We continue to install large beams on top of the concrete columns and pour the bridge decking,” said Ed Motley, Lake Ralph Hall Program Manager for Upper Trinity.

Construction is also well underway on the Leon Hurse Dam, named after long time Ladonia Mayor and Lake Ralph Hall visionary, Leon Hurse.  The dam is about 10% complete and includes an approximately 2.3 mile long, 110 feet tall earthen embankment that will form a reservoir capable of storing 180,000 acre-feet of water. Crews from Granite Constructors are currently focused on building up the north and south side of the embankment.  Spillway excavation is nearing completion.

Additional components of the project, which are being financed by the Texas Water Development Board, include a raw water pump station, a 32-mile raw water pipeline, a balancing reservoir, an operation/maintenance facility and improvements and upgrades to county roads adjacent to the new reservoir.

Final design of the aquatic mitigation will begin soon.  This part of the project will include recreating a portion of the original Sulphur River channel as an offset to any impacts the new reservoir may have on existing aquatic resources.

Upper Trinity also relocated the popular Ladonia Fossil Park to a new, temporary location on the north side of the river, east of FM 2990. This new park provides fossil hunters with easier access to the riverbed during construction of the reservoir.  A permanent fossil park will be built downriver of the Leon Hurse dam once the reservoir is complete.

The reservoir is scheduled to begin delivering water to Upper Trinity in 2026. Recreational opportunities are anticipated, such as fishing, boating, bird watching, nature trails and other uses. The lake is being stocked with bass and threadfin gamefish through a cooperative agreement with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

“An additional source of water is needed by the mid-2020’s to meet Upper Trinity’s anticipated water service demands,” said Larry N. Patterson, Upper Trinity’s Executive Director. “Lake Ralph Hall is the most feasible and cost-effective source of new water available to Upper Trinity, and it can be built in time to avoid a water shortage.”

Upper Trinity serves 29 communities consisting of more than 375,000 residents in one of the fastest growing regions in North Texas. The area’s population is expected to increase nearly fivefold by 2070.  To meet future needs, Upper Trinity must rely on conservation, in addition to water reuse, maximizing existing supplies and developing new water sources, such as Lake Ralph Hall.

For more information about the Lake Ralph Hall project, visit www.lakeralphhall.com. Stay up-to-date by following the project on Facebook (www.facebook.com/lakeralphhall) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/lakeralphhall1).