Construction officials say work is going according to plan for Lake Ralph Hall, a man-made lake in Ladonia that broke ground five months ago and will eventually supply millions of gallons of water each day to Denton County.

The $490 million project in Fannin County is being directed by the Upper Trinity Regional Water District, which provides water services to all of Denton County and parts of others. Up to 54 million gallons of water — 35 gallons of “raw” water and 19 gallons of reuse water — will be produced each day by the lake, which got started in June with completion expected by early 2026.

The project is still in its early stages and the agency’s board of directors approved $12.5 million in contracts earlier this month. Those contracts went to three aspects of the lake: ongoing facility infrastructure, a raw water pump station and a raw water pipeline and balancing reservoir. Reached last week, UTRWD spokesperson Jason Pierce said construction is chugging along as scheduled.

The two major components being worked on currently, Pierce said, are the 2.3-mile Leon Hurse Dam and a 1.1-mile Highway 34 bridge. The dam’s progress has been mainly site-clearing and water well drilling, with work recently beginning above the ground. But the project’s most visible progress has been made on the bridge.

“There’s 373 concrete beams that will go up on this bridge and they’ve installed about 60 of them already,” Pierce said.

That bridge will have a 10-foot wide pedestrian walkway as well, for hikers and bikers to get across the lake. It’s one of the first steps in the project because it would be much more difficult to build once the lake starts filling up. Ralph Hall is being built along the North Sulphur River, but will also get its water from precipitation.

“This lake is what we call a surface area lake, so it holds the rainfall and it holds the water as it drains from within the watershed,” Pierce said. “It’s a bathtub, if you will.”

The lake will be 12 square miles in surface area and is slated to hold about 59 billion gallons of water, with the deepest part about 90 feet down. As such, construction steps have to be made in conjunction with water intake. Water delivery is planned to start in the first half of 2025, and Pierce said it will take a year or two for the lake to fill — a process made uncertain by North Texas weather patterns.

“At a certain point in time, the lake will start filling and we’ll still be on site while finishing up the maintenance facilities, the pipeline, the pump station and so forth,” Pierce said. “If we get a lot of rain, it will fill up sooner than anticipated.”

Pierce said the lake was designed to withstand the region’s “drought of record,” or the worst recorded drought in history. That happened in the 50s, and if a similar drought happened after the lake’s completion, he said it would have just enough water to withstand it.

A full construction timeline for the lake and its future steps can be found at lakeralphhall.com/construction/project-schedule.

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