City approves repairs to historic Lawrence dam

LAWRENCE | Lawrence City Commissioners have approved a plan to repair a dam across the Kansas River that's vital to the city's water system.

Repairs to the northern half of the Bowersock Dam could begin in August. The project is expected to cost more than $2 million.

A construction crew is planning to create a temporary cofferdam with rocks west of the dam to lower water levels and allow workers to fill holes in the dam.

The dam was built in the 1870s and officials have been concerned about rotting in an upstream portion of the dam.

If the dam fails, it would likely compromise two Kansas River bridges near downtown and the Kaw Water Treatment Plant.

The Bowersock Dam keeps the river contained and raises its level so enough water can be captured and treated for the city's supply.