USACE Closes Road Along Dam
The service road along Canyon Lake Dam permanently closed on Monday following a formal complaint alleging the walkthrough is too narrow for indiviuals with disabilities.
In a press release issued by its Fort Worth district, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) said only authorized persons and vehicles will now have accesss to what is widely viewed as one of the most spectacular vistas in the area.
Meanwhile, Canyon Lake Dam will continue normal operations of flood-risk management, water supply and other responsibilities.
Although it cites public safety as the reason for the closure, Canyon Lake Area Chamber of Commerce confirmed on its Facebook page the Corps is dialing back on “well-intentioned operational decisions that unfortunately excluded users with disabilities.”
“The reality is that the service road was never designed for recreation use, but over the years members of the public have viewed it more as a trail than a service road,” the chamber posted.
In July 2017 the U.S. Access Board notified the Department of Defense Disability Programs Office of a formal complaint alleging a violation of the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 at Canyon Dam.
To avoid further access exclusions of users requiring wheeled devices unable to pass through walkthroughs, the USACE closed the dam to all public use.
“The USACE’s decision to close the road will allow the district time to determine the scope of work and the regulatory compliance requirements for any corrective measure and/or improvements, as well as addressing budgetary issues,” the chamber said on its Facebook page.
5:30 p.m. Update from Jen Crownover, Comal County Commissioner Pct. 4
“Today has been a tough day for residents of Canyon Lake with regard to the closing of our beloved dam to pedestrian traffic.
That being said, I’ve been in contact with many levels of the US Army Corps of Engineers, and we are working together to brainstorm some possible solutions. I’m confident that we will come up with something. We have many motivated partners, and a community that I truly will believe will step up when asked. More details forthcoming as a strategy develops. Keep those wonderful pictures coming. Let’s keep the wonderful message going of what a beloved part of this community’s fellowship that the Canyon Dam serves.
However, earlier today, Crownover told constituents on her Facebook page that short of an act of the U.S. Congress, there’s not much the public can do to overrule the USACE’s decision.
“Once the complaint was filed, this is the unfortunate result that we all have to live with now. The Dam cannot be brought into ADA compliance without significant alteration to the dam, which would cost significant money that is not there,” she said.
Clayton Church, public affairs specialist, Fort Worth District, U.S.A.C.E., responding to an email query, said there is no projected date for reopening the road.
“If we openly invite the public to use the crest of Canyon Lake Dam as a paved trail, we must ensure the safety of all using the road,” he wrote. “There are safety and accessibility requirements, such as curbing, handrails and possibly dedicated lanes, that are needed to ensure the safety of all users. Placing these types of safety and accessibility requirements need to be done in consultation with dam safety and water control experts to ensure such actions do not interfere with Canyon Lake Dam’s primary purposes of flood damage reduction and water supply in addition to budgetary constraints.”
The Fort Worth District was established in 1950 and is responsible for water resources development in two-thirds of Texas, and design and construction at military installations in Texas and parts of Louisiana and New Mexico. Visit the Fort Worth District Web site at: www.swf.usace.army.mil and SWF Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/usacefortworth/.