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The groundbreaking for the new reservoir was in June of this year with water delivery expected to about 29 North Texas cities by 2026.

LADONIA – Work continues on the Highway 34 pedestrian-friendly bridge spanning the future Lake Ralph Hall north of this southeastern Fannin County community as the Upper Trinity Regional Water District issues contracts to advance the construction of the 12-square-mile lake and plans are underway for development around the reservoir.

“Approximately 56 beams have been installed to date, and contractors will soon be pouring the bridge decking,” Upper Trinity manager of communications Jason Pierce said Monday about the progress on the 1.1-mile long bridge across the North Sulphur River. “About 60% of the Leon Hurse Dam (2.3 miles long) site has been cleared.”

A fortnight ago, Upper Trinity directors issued $12.5 million in contracts to advance the construction of the lake, according to information on the Lake Ralph Hall website. Those projects include a raw water pump station contracted to Archer Western Construction LLC as the construction manager at risk, another for a raw water pipeline and balancing reservoir, and another for lake support facilities.

The design of the 32-mile pipeline will be split into two segments with Black & Veatch Corp. designing one segment and Jacobs Engineering Group the second, along with the balancing reservoir. Upper Trinity selected Haliff Associates Inc. to assist in planning for the infrastructure needed to support lake operations and maintenance activities.

Even as construction continues on the lake itself, work is already underway to plan the future land use within 5,000 feet of its shore, according to the lake’s website. The Fannin County Commissioners’ Court and the Lake Ralph Hall Zoning Commission are working with consultants from Freese and Nichols Inc. to prepare the Lake Ralph Hall Comprehensive Plan and Lake Ralph Hall Zoning Regulations. The court is the final approval authority for both the plan and zoning regulations. The comprehensive plan is scheduled for a June 2022 approval and zoning regulation approval set for March 2023.

Lake Ralph Hall, a $490 million project in the works for more than 15 years, is the second lake to be constructed in Texas in the past 30 years. It is the second built in Fannin County on the heels of Bois d’Arc Lake, which is now impounding water. Groundbreaking took place in early June, and the reservoir is expected to begin delivering water to roughly 29 North Texas cities by 2026.

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at mary.madewell@theparisnews.com.

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