Upper Silver Lake Dam

mears, michigan

Client | Upper Silver Lake Improvement Association


Upper Silver Lake Dam is categorized as a high hazard structure – meaning, a catastrophic failure could cause serious damage to nearby homes, businesses and highways. According to safety inspection reports, Upper Silver Lake Dam’s primary and emergency spillways were reaching the end of their lifespan. In order to continue to serve the local population’s safety, these spillways would need to be replaced. The Upper Silver Lake Improvement Association (USLIA) sought to not only increase the increase the lifespan of replacements spillways, but also improve comfort and safety of the dam’s roadway and boat launch planks.


Paradigm Design prepared a feasibility study for replacement of the existing pipeline and outlined possible options for USLIA. Partnering with geotechnical and structural engineers, Paradigm was able to address hydrology and hydraulics of the structures as well as geotechnical and structural engineering, and staging and phasing. A new spillway was constructed using precast, reinforced concrete pipe, and the project was completed while ensuring that the structure could safely withhold a major storm event – even during construction.