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Loud Thunder Lake George Spillway

The spillway at Lake George, a 167-acre lake at Loud Thunder Forest Preserve in Illinois City, on Thursday, March 30, 2017.

ILLINOIS CITY — Bids were due Friday for spillway work at Lake George at Loud Thunder Forest Preserve, though the actual work on the project won’t begin until after Labor Day.

First, the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission must approve the low bidder and get contracts in place.

The main work includes replacing the rip rap, or basketball-sized rock, on the upstream side of the dam and replacing rip rap to fortify the embankment below the spillway, as well as a pedestrian bridge crossing, said Jeff Craver, forest preserve district director.

A wave wall will also be installed, in case of a 10,000-year rain, Craver said.

No other work on the project will be done this fall, he said.

"The reason for work being done to the spillway is to get the district in compliance with the state-mandated regulations for a Class 1 dam," Craver said.

"When it was constructed, it was for a Class 3 dam," he said. "But since we have boat ramp, a campground and trails below the spillway which was constructed afterward, the state reclassified it to a Class 1 because there’s the potential for a loss of life."

Currently, Craver said, campground improvements are being completed. Well, septic and electrical work have been submitted to the Rock Island County Health Department and the Rock Island County Building and Zoning Department.

Additional work on the campgrounds, including the equestrian campgrounds, won’t begin until the spring of 2019, he said.

The upgrades were approved in September when the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission members approved issuing up to $4.5 million in bonds to improve camping facilities and repair the dam and spillway on Lake George, the 167-acre man-made lake located within the preserve at 19406 Loud Thunder Road, Illinois City.

Repairing the dam and spillway that create the lake is estimated to cost $1.9 million; $2.1 million is slated for upgrades to several camping areas and constructing cabins. The remaining $500,000 is budgeted for interest payments.

Additional plans call for 53 new RV campsites on 5.5 acres west of the Deer Haven restroom building. None of that work will take place this fall, Craver said.

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