Top Hintgen / Daily Journal: Water has extended onto Highway 12 at Johnson Lake east of Dalton. The county board is speeding up the process for a permanent outlet and pumping station.

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Johnson Lake pumping to speed up

Published 10:49am Wednesday, July 27, 2011 Updated 11:09am Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A frustrated county board of commissioners on Tuesday voted to speed up the process for a permanent outlet and pumping station at flooded Johnson Lake, east of Dalton. If negotiations with a landowner aren’t resolved in short order, the board will proceed with an alternative route for the outlet.

In order to speed up the process, the board declared a water emergency on Tuesday in light of water becoming a safety hazard along County Highway 12. This in turn will help shorten up the bid process in order to complete the project.

“I’ve stopped my vehicle along the roadway to remove logs that have washed up onto the highway,” said County Board Chairman John Lindquist, who represents the Dalton area on the five-person board of commissioners.

Retiree Charles Bohnet, a nearby resident who resides at Long Lake, drives along Highway 12 on numerous occasions. He cited water on the roadway along Johnson Lake as a safety issue, not only for county residents but especially for summer tourists.

Previously, temporary pumps have been used to lower the water level at Johnson Lake. A permanent solution would allow for water to be pumped northward, into the Pomme de Terre watershed, west of Stalker Lake.

Water at Johnson Lake dropped significantly after pumps were installed in 2006. But this was only a temporary solution.

A few years ago Johnson Lake was about six feet above its ordinary high water mark. That problem led to the county raising the road grade, about four feet above the lake water level. Today water is again threatening the roadway.

County commissioners said Tuesday that playing the waiting game is no longer an option. Safety concerns prompted the vote to speed up the process, in light of the Johnson Lake safety hazard.

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