Dam project delayed

Chad Frey
Work to replace a dam that keeps Sand Creek full started this week. The old dam failed in 2019.

Installation of the new dam for Sand Creek has been delayed by the weather.

Rain, and the prospect of more rain, has pushed back the work by at least three days. Installation of the dam was to begin Monday.

“We are no coordinating schedules with the contractor and inspectors, but it is possible the installation will have to wait until next week,” said Erin McDaniel, public information officer for the city of Newton.

Dondlinger Construction began moving dirt and creating a bypass channel at the site last week. Installation of the new dam is expected to take five to 10 days, weather permitting.

Dondlinger will have the construction site blocked off on the west side of Sand Creek.

The rubber bladder took months to be delivered, arriving in Newton in June. Sealants and parts followed in July. The project was approved in November 2019.

The dam failed in July 2019 after several high water events. At 40 years old, with a life expectancy of 20 years, city parks staff noticed the rubber bladder on the adjustable inflatable dam appeared to have a problem on the north side. The air inflation equipment was struggling to keep up, which indicated a significant leak.

The cost of the project is estimated at $400,000, with the capital improvement budget allowing for $600,000. Final costs for the project will be known when it is complete.

Life expectancy of the bladder is 20 to 25 years. The original bladder lasted for 40 years.

This will be a bonded project, with the bond payments made out of the sewer budget.