Lake Tabor dam project nearing completion

Stabilization of the Lake Tabor dam should be complete by Sept. 30. (Submitted photo)
Stabilization of the Lake Tabor dam should be completed by Sept. 30. (Submitted photo)

Lake Tabor has undergone a facelift, but it’s not just for aesthetics. There’s a practical reason for the new look.

While it’s been a long work in progress – since 2017, in the wake of Hurricane Matthew – workers are finally installing granite stones on the edge of Lake Tabor’s banks to the way to the dam and beyond.

“This is the final phase in effort to prevent erosion on the face of the dam,” said Diane Nobles Ward, promotions director for the town of Tabor City, “to prevent the destruction of the dam from hard extensive rainfall associated with hurricanes. The contractor is now finishing the final phase and the town is very happy about that.”

While Matthew wasn’t the first time the dam was damaged by a hurricane, the town certainly hopes it will be the last. Hurricane Fran in 1996 was a Category 3 hurricane with winds up to 120 miles per hour. It struck the area with such ferocity that it damaged the dam beyond repair. It took years to reconstruct the dam and let the historical landmark lake fill up with water again. 

The project should be completed by Sept. 30, officials said. The town hopes the dam improvements will be completed before the area is struck by another hurricane. Tropical season ends Dec. 1, and September is typically the peak month for hurricanes along the Cape Fear and Horry coasts.

“The town received a $1.35 million grant of state and federal funding,” said Ward. “This was not state funding. These repairs have been extensive.” 

The improvements are not for public use, but are being put in place solely to protect the dam. The rows of articulated granite blocks extend along the banks to the edge of the dam to prevent erosion and further destruction of the dam.