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High Water Causes Headache For Keystone Lake Neighbors

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Image of the gates at Keystone Dam shortly after the Corps opened them Friday afternoon. Image of the gates at Keystone Dam shortly after the Corps opened them Friday afternoon.
Image of one of the flooded areas at the lake. Image of one of the flooded areas at the lake.
KEYSTONE LAKE, Oklahoma -

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the gates at Keystone Dam on Friday afternoon.

The lake was nearly 26 feet above normal when the Corps opened the gates.

The bridge to Keystone Lake's Pelican Point neighborhood. You can't see it because it's about 4 feet under water.

The bridge has been closed for about nine months, adding an extra minutes round trip for folks like Crystal Pleasant.

"They've got a much longer way around than what they had before," she said.

Oklahoma Lake Levels

It was supposed to reopen for drivers sometime next week. Then rain came. And turns out a boater is the first to use the new bridge.

Commissioners tore out the old bridge because it had become a danger to drivers and it frequently flooded.

Pleasant said, "We were under the impression it was not going to go back underwater again."

The new bridge was built about seven feet higher, but when the lake went up 21 feet about normal the bridge flooded. County commissioners say they didn't have the money to build it any higher.

So it's deja vu for those who live here. But most understand the lake is here to hold flood water to lessen the impact of downstream flooding.

"I would rather the lake be like this and cut my way off and send me longer around than to be in somebody's home downstream because I know what loss is like and I wouldn't want to see anybody else face that," Pleasant said.

Keystone Dam started releasing water Friday, about 112,000 gallons each second.

"We're gonna try to start releasing the water to hopefully make it where it has the least amount of impact possible on Memorial Day," said Kent Dunlap, Tulsa District Army Corps of Engineers. 

The Army Corps of Engineers can't say exactly how much water will drop between now and Memorial Day -- but says lake goers should expect higher than normal levels.

And those who live on Pelican Point can expect to take the long way home a little longer. 

The Corps hopes the lake level drops about 12 feet by the end of the month, which would reopen that bridge and would make recreation a little more manageable.

If more rain falls - that could change.

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