Army Corps Of Engineers To Close A Portion Of East Gull Lake Dam Road in 2025
The people of East Gull Lake have enjoyed crossing the one-lane bridge over the Gull Lake Dam for over one hundred years. Gull Lake Dam Road makes it easy to get from one side of town to the other, but all of that is about to change in a few years.
“It’s a real critical connection from the north end of the city to the south end of the city,” Robert Mason, East Gull Lake’s City Administrator, said. “For all these years since the city came into an agreement with the federal government to have the lease, it was one of those things that we really didn’t have to worry about.”
Last week, the Army Corps of Engineer, decided that will end the lease in 2025 closing a portion of East Gull Lake Dam Road to public use. The city of East Gull Lake filed a petition against and had meetings with the corps of engineers to keep the road open, but their request was not granted.
“There were multiple concerns,” Tamara Cameron, St. Paul’s Army Corps of Engineers Deputy Chief of Operations, said. “Pedestrian safety, long-term maintenance of the dam itself, we really wouldn’t have a lot of funds to repair that so we want to keep in as good of shape as we can for the next 50 to 100 years.”
The corps also wanted to preserve some Native American burial grounds that are near the road.
“Essentially that area surrounding the road is a very important cultural site,” Cameron said.
Nearly 1,500 cars use the road everyday making it imperative for the county to find an alternate route.
“It’s critical that we come up with another option,” Mason said. “If we have to go through the other road, it would be a huge inconvenience for all of our residence and the guests that visit East Gull Lake.”
The lease stated the corps only needed to give the county a 90-day notice before closing the road, but the corps decided to give East Gull Lake until 2025.
“That looked to be an appropriate amount of time to allow the necessary planning and design and funding and construction of an alternative route,” Cameron said.
The county tried to create a more efficient bypass around the dam in 2000, but the funding could not be secured because there was no need for a new road at the time. Now the city administrator is confident they can secure funding and design a new road before the 2025 deadline.
“Whether it’s the federal government or the state government the county people have had some very positive meetings with those folks already,” Mason said. “[They haven’t] assured us money, but it looks good.”
The Army Corps of Engineers is unsure of what will happen to the road once it is closed in 2025.