Tempe officials have extended the deadline to make a decision on a long-term solution for the Tempe Town Lake west dam.
The plan was expected to be revealed last week to the Tempe City Council but has been delayed until Jan. 5 to allow for more engineering analysis and research into the best possible option, Assistant City Manager Jeff Kulaga said.
“Obviously it’s a complex, multi-million dollar, complicated project,” Kulaga said. “We want to ensure that the engineers analyzing the various designs did an exhaustive look at the four different designs under consideration.”
Kulaga said Tempe has narrowed the options down to four choices, including a rubber dam similar to the model that broke in July 2010.
The other options include one with concrete buckets that spill over when full, one with steel panels supported by bladders that inflate and deflate with fluctuating water elevation and one with steel panels that control water flow using hydraulics or electricity, according to a September presentation to the Tempe City Council.
Kulaga said each option has advantages and disadvantages, with each estimated to cost between $25 and $35 million.
“If we’re going to invest upwards of $25 million of public money on this kind of project, we want to make sure we do our due diligence and provide the best value and cost effective solution for the community,” Kulaga said.
Tempe Councilwoman Onnie Shekerjian said the Council is simply giving more time to the Gannett Fleming Inc. engineers to decide on the best option.
“There is nothing outrageous going on, it’s just that staff wanted a little more time to consider all of the possibilities,” Shekerjian said.
Shekerjian said she has a favorite design for the dam, but is reserving judgment until all experts weigh in.
Kulaga said the new design needs to be finished by August 2012 in order for Tempe to replace the temporary dam they are leasing from Bridgestone Industrial Products Inc. by Dec. 28, 2015.
The current design timetable will meet deadlines from Bridgestone and various permits the city needs to move forward with building the dam, Kulaga said.
“On that date, we need to have the new dam in place,” Kulaga said. “That’s the finish line and we’re still on track with our design.”
Shekerjian said the decision is pivotal for both the present and future of the lake.
“This decision is an important decision and no one on our Council takes it lightly in terms of what this means, not only to us but to the whole Valley of the Sun,” Shekerjian said.
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