Storm delays dam repairs at Tempe Town Lake

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Mother Nature's show of force in the Valley earlier this week means some delays for crews working to repair the dam at Tempe Town Lake.

Three of the four new bladders that make up the dam were supposed to be lowered into place by cranes today.

Tuesday night's storm dumped about 2 inches of rain on north Scottsdale. That water flowed into the Indian Bend Wash and then into the dry bed of Tempe Town Lake.

PCL Construction said the decision to hold off on placing those 40-ton rubber bladders into the dam's structure is a safety one. They plan to wait until the storm system passes and the excess rainwater has flowed through the Salt River channel and past the construction zone.

Even with the delay, which is expected to be a couple of days, crews are still working to meet the November deadline for have the dam repaired and the lake refilled.

"We're still planning on being open on Nov. 1," said city of Tempe spokeswoman Kris Baxter. "What [the weather] did delay is the day we could place the bladders on top of the dam. So, instead of doing that, constructions crews are doing others things to prepare for the opening."

The lake has been dry since one of the dam's four rubber bladders burst the night of July 20, allowing nearly 1 billion gallons of water to flow out of the lake and into the Salt River channel.

Once the three bladders are in place, it will take about two weeks to fully install each one. The fourth bladder is due to arrive on site in October.

After dam repairs are finished, Tempe Town Lake will be filled from water from Roosevelt Lake northeast of the Phoenix area.