Wisconsin Dells (WKOW) -- from WI Governor: Governor Jim Doyle began refilling Lake Delton and opened County Highway A Friday.
Less than six months ago, torrential rains caused the lake to breach its shoreline, damaging a section of County Highway A.
Friday, Governor Doyle officially reopened the washed away part of the highway and announced the gates have been lowered on the newly refurbished Lake Delton Dam, allowing water to begin refilling the lake.
"Today, less than six months after the lake emptied, I am pleased to announce that County Highway A is again open for business and that we have begun the process of refilling Lake Delton," Governor Doyle said. "From the famous Tommy Bartlett ski show, to the numerous world class resorts lining its shores, Lake Delton is incredibly important to the economic prosperity of the Dells area and to Wisconsin. Today's announcement signals a new beginning for the entire community and for the many visitors from around the world who travel the area and enjoy Lake Delton."
The lake will be brought up to approximately seven feet and then will be monitored over the winter, with spring snow melt and rain expected to provide the remainder of the water to reestablish an average depth of 12 feet by early May.
Numerous state agencies, local officials, and federal partners worked together to redevelop the Lake Delton area.
Governor Doyle also thanked the U.S. Department of Transportation for their assistance on the project.
Lake Delton is a primary venue for resorts, ski shows, boat tours, and fishing, and is a significant part of the Wisconsin Dells experience.
Last year, Sauk County, where Lake Delton is located, attracted more than $1 billion in traveler spending.
Tourism, overall, is a $13 billion industry in Wisconsin, supporting 22,600 full-time jobs and generating more than $127 million in state revenue.
A major part of restoring Lake Delton involved the reconstruction of part of County Highway A, which has been closed since the breach and is the only road around the lake.
Lake Delton is scheduled to reopen this spring for recreational use.