Bowersock Dam will be getting a $1 million structural face lift starting a week from Monday.
L.G. Barcus and Sons Inc., a Kansas City, Kan., foundation company, will replace sheet piling on the downstream face of the dam, said Stephen Hill, president of Bowersock Mills and Power Co. The dam spans the Kansas River just north of City Hall.
Sheet piling consists of steel sheets, which are driven down to bedrock to prevent the dam from being undercut by the river's downstream flows, Hill said.
Consultants hired by the city inspected the dam last year and determined that sheet piling was missing from several sections of the dam, said Roger Coffey, director of utilities.
"The idea is to rejuvenate that dam, do some of that work and provide a little more reliability to the structure of it," he said.
Besides replacing foundation elements, workers will do remedial concrete work at various spots on the dam.
Crews will begin moving equipment in Monday, Hill said, and, river flows permitting, work will begin the next week. The project is expected to take from 3 1/2 to 4 months.
Workers will build a causeway over the river, which will provide a surface for reaching the work site, Coffey said.
The work will not affect traffic on the Kansas River bridge, Hill said, though it might disrupt fishing near the dam.
"But water flows have been too high for fishing off the dam anyway," he said.
The $1 million project is being funded by the city, which maintains the dam.
Coffey said the utilities department was interested in the improvements because the dam provides an impoundment where water department intakes filter water to the Kaw River Water Treatment Plant. At the plant, it is treated and sent on to Lawrence residents.
"The integrity of the dam is pretty important to us," Coffey said.