Public Opinion Sought As Portion of Gull Lake Dam Road May Be Closed
Whether it’s to get to the recreation area or to simply get to a destination faster, Gull Lake Dam Road is used by thousands of motorists every day. However, concerns over the almost 90-year-old road arose after work had to be done in the fall of 2017.
“We had an issue with the embankment along the road there on East Gull Lake Dam Road,” Tamara Cameron, the Army Corps of Engineers Deputy of Operations, said. “With the high water, there was some erosion and some slippage of the slope there that needed some emergency repairs.”
The erosion and slope change, however, was not caused by the road or traffic, but by heavy rain. Then, Native American tribes in the area expressed their concerns about the portion of Gull Lake Dam Road.
“Tribal representatives also asked us to close the section of roadway, due to the proximity to their sacred burial grounds,” Brian Turner, the Gull Lake Recreation Area Site Leader, said.
At the public meeting, there were no members of the Native American Tribe to express their concerns.
If the city decides to close a portion of the road, motorists would lose access to this one lane bridge that goes over the dam, dramatically hurting businesses in the area.
“Most of our customers come from the resorts and they usually take the one lane bridge, so it would impact us pretty substantially,” Chris Foy, the Owner of Ernie’s on Gull, said.
The city had to close the road when the embankment project was happening last year, and that gave businesses a taste of how life would be without the road.
“When they closed it for some repairs last year, we obviously noticed a little bit of an impact,” Foy said.
Right now, no alternate routes are in place if the road is closed.
“If they do need to shut down the road, we ask that they would give the city enough time to work with the county to add an additional road,” Foy said.
Other concerns the public expressed at the meeting were fire department access and the financial cost of a new road. If a decision is eventually made to close a portion of Gull Lake Dam Road, it would not happen until at least the year 2022.