Work begins on replacing Tempe Town Lake Dam - Tucson News Now

Work begins on replacing Tempe Town Lake Dam

The project will consist of eight fabricated steel gates mounted on a concrete foundation about 100 feet downstream from the current inflatable rubber bladders holding in the water of the lake. (Source: City of Tempe) The project will consist of eight fabricated steel gates mounted on a concrete foundation about 100 feet downstream from the current inflatable rubber bladders holding in the water of the lake. (Source: City of Tempe)
TEMPE, AZ (CBS5) -

Construction began on a $40.8 million hydraulic dam project on the west end of Tempe Town Lake on Wednesday morning.

The project will consist of eight fabricated steel gates mounted on a concrete foundation and is being constructed about 100 feet downstream from the current inflatable rubber bladders holding in the water of the lake.

One of the four bladders burst in July 2010, collapsing the dam and draining the lake into the Salt River bed.

When completed, the dam will be the largest hydraulic steel dam in the world, said Kris Baxter-Ging of the city of Tempe. The Mayor of Tempe, Mark Mitchell, hopes this new permanent structure will hold for years to come.

"You see all the economic activity that has happened at Tempe Town Lake," Mitchell said. "We have had $1.4-billion of economic impact since its inception."

Tempe Town Lake is one of Arizona's top recreation destinations. Only the Grand Canyon gets more visitors every year. Without a dam, Tempe Town Lake wouldn't exist and Mitchell believes the city will regain its investment on the dam from visitors attracted to the water. 

The project will add 100 more feet to the length of the lake, which is a $1.5 billion economic asset to the city that has created "tens of thousands of jobs" and offers numerous recreational opportunities and is a haven for wildlife, Baxter-Ging said.

The massive project is expected to be completed by December 2015, city officials said.

Tempe chose the hydraulically-operated steel gates in January 2012 and officials said the system offers safety, reliability, durability and flow flexibility.

Each steel gate is 107 feet long and 17 feet high and weighs about 230,000 pounds.

The project is funded by cash reserves and voter-approved bonds and is the city's largest capital project since the lake itself, which opened in 1999.

PCL Construction is the prime contractor.

For more information on the project, visit the city of Tempe website.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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