Tempe Town Lake reopens today

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- After more than three months, Tempe Town Lake is once again open to the public.

Bruce Haffner was there as the first boaters hit the water.

In July, one of the four rubber bladders that make up the lake's inflatable dam ruptured, sending nearly 1 billion gallons into the dry Salt River bed.

The cleanup and repairs took more than two months, but everything ran relatively smoothly and right on schedule.

The city of Tempe had promised to have the lake open by Nov. 1, just in time for Ford Arizona Ironman, which is one of Tempe's biggest annual events.

Water from Roosevelt Lake began flowing into Tempe Town Lake on Oct. 8, with fish stocking following about a week later.

While the lake is now open for everybody to enjoy, there is still quite a bit of work to be done.

The fourth of the 16-foot-tall rubber bladders still has to be installed. A cofferdam is holding its place right now. That cofferdam will allow crews to install the rubber bladder without completely draining the lake again.

The dam eventually will be shaded by a new pedestrian bridge that will span Town Lake from the south bank at Tempe Center for the Arts to the north shore. That bridge will be equipped with a sprinkler system designed to cool the dam. It's expected to be finished in May.

With the shade and the sprinkler system, experts say the new dam bladders will last at least five years.

A report released in late September confirmed what many already knew -- heat and sun exposure were what caused the bladder to burst.