July 21, 2008

Crews Start Lake Delton Repairs

By Sharif Durhams, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Jul. 21--Floodwaters that chewed through Lake Delton's shoreline next to a dam last month took all the lake's water, five homes and the lake's tourism economy downstream.

Crews and engineers will start repairs to the lake's dam today designed to prevent a repeat of the natural disaster, businessman and village trustee Tom Diehl said.

Workers are also gearing up for repairs to Highway A and the village board is working to get back into the National Flood Insurance Program.

"Seeing work start is a real emotional boost as they can see progress being made," Diehl said this morning. "I always say you can crawl before you walk and walk before you can run. We're at the walking stage right now."

Lake Delton village trustees voted last week to spend $1.5 million on improvements to the dam. The approaches to the dam's gates and a higher emergency release will be reshaped like funnels so they can handle more water. Crews also plan to build new emergency spillways to the left and the right of the dam.

The improvements will make the dam capable of holding more than twice the amount of water as before, Diehl said.

While the work is being done, water from Dell Creek is running through the breach into the Wisconsin River. Crews should be able to divert water back through the dam opening in about four weeks and should be able to start filling the lake in November.

Village trustees were told last week that the federal government has offered compensation for the five houses that were destroyed by the breach.


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