Lake Ralph Hall

Upper Trinity’s officers and the executive director are shown signing the contracts. Pictured are (front row, left) Rich Lubke, President, and Clay Riggs, secretary, (back) Kevin Mercer, past president, Brian Roberson, vice president, Larry Patterson, executive director, and Bob Hart, treasurer.

Construction of Lake Ralph Hall in Fannin County, one of Texas’ newest reservoirs, is on track to start early this summer. 

The Upper Trinity Regional Water District’s Board of Directors authorized last week two key construction contracts for development of the future reservoir. 

Granite Construction Company was selected to build the Leon Hurse Dam at a cost of approximately $160 million dollars. In addition, the Board of Director’s authorized Flatiron Constructors, Inc., the roadway relocations contractor, to begin procuring certain long-lead items (girders, concrete, rip rap, etc.) and early construction activities related to replacing the State Highway 34 bridge.

“After almost 20 years of planning, permitting and design activities, we’re very excited to be able to start turning dirt,” said Larry N. Patterson, Executive Director of Upper Trinity.  “Lake Ralph Hall will provide approximately 35 million gallons per day of water for some 29 communities in Denton and Collin counties, an area experiencing rapid growth and development.  With these contracts, the economic benefits of the project will soon be realized as well.”

Named after the late longtime U.S. Congressman Ralph M. Hall from Rockwall, the new reservoir will be located on the North Sulphur River in southeast Fannin County, just north of the City of Ladonia. Upper Trinity serves approximately 325,000 residents in one of the fastest growing regions in North Texas. The area’s population is expected to increase nearly five-fold over the next 50 years. 

“An additional source of water is needed by the mid-2020’s to meet Upper Trinity’s anticipated water service demands,” Patterson said.  “Lake Ralph Hall is the most feasible and lowest cost source of new water available to Upper Trinity, and it can be built in time to avoid a water shortage.”

The Leon Hurse Dam, named for the city of Ladonia’s former mayor and a long-time visionary of the project, will be an earthen dam approximately 2.3 miles long and about 110 feet tall. The dam project, which has been approved by both state and federal regulatory agencies, also includes an inlet tower, outlet works and a primary and emergency spillway. 

Several roads must be constructed, improved, or re-routed to ensure ease of navigation around the lake. Two new bridges will be built over the future reservoir, including an approximately 2.5-mile State Highway 34 bridge over the North Sulphur River.

“We’re ready to start construction,” said Ed Motley, Upper Trinity’s Lake Ralph Hall program manager. “Our goal is to begin delivering water for the people within Upper Trinity’s service area from Lake Ralph Hall by 2026.” 

There are additional project components to be constructed in the future, which includes a raw water pump station, a 32-mile pipeline, a balancing reservoir and an operation / maintenance facility.  In conjunction with constructing the lake project, Upper Trinity plans to restore a portion of the original North Sulphur River and relocate the Ladonia Fossil Park to a new location downstream of the reservoir.  During construction of the reservoir, the current park will be closed, and a temporary fossil park will be adjacent to FM 2990. 

Both parks are being coordinated with local leaders so as to provide fossil hunters with continued access to the river bottom.

For more information about the Lake Ralph Hall project, visit  Stay up to date by following the project on Facebook ( and Twitter (  

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