Engineers hopeful Padera Lake dam will hold

A dam on a tiny Ellis County lake that officials worried could fail should be fine after closer analysis.

Residents in Midlothian and Grand Prairie were warned early Wednesday morning that a breech in the Padera Lake, or Texas Lake, dam was imminent.

But city engineers who re-evaluated it in the daylight determined it was more stable than it had been. By midday engineers opted to build a relief channel to drain out water from behind the dam.

"We are confident that we'll be able to keep lake levels down with that relief that emergency relief channel they created," said Midlothian Police Chief Carl Smith. "They're going to monitor that all through the night like they have been doing."

If the dam breaks, a flood wave could wash over Highway 287. The water would eventually flow into area creeks and Joe Pool Lake.

The highway was shut down Wednesday morning as a precaution. West and northbound traffic was diverted to Highway 67 and east and southbound traffic was detoured to Old Fort Worth Road.

There are about 25 homes downstream. Those people were asked to evacuate. Livestock owners were also asked to move their animals to higher ground. All people and animals were allowed to return to their homes by midday.