Contract approved for Lake Manatee Dam

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BRADENTON, Fla. - The Manatee County Commission has unanimously approved a $14 million contract for emergency repairs to Lake Manatee Dam.

This after city officials announced in February that erosion has led to potentially serious problems with the dam, and that a catastrophic failure was possible in the event of heavy rains.

“The cost of the repair is small compared to the value of extending the life of the reservoir another 50 years,” Manatee County Water Division Manager Mark Simpson said. “This is a good news story because the dam did not fail. There’s been no loss of property or other catastrophe.”

The first phase of the project is expected to be finished by June; the second phase, by late October.

Simpson said the most critical dam work will be done in Phase IA and Phase IB. Phase IA will address the most critical areas of the dam before the rainy season. Phase IB will extend the new cement wall north and south along the dam, creating a cement wall of about 3,700 feet across the dam to further enhance its structural integrity. Phase IB, Simpson said, could be complete as soon as Oct. 31, 2014.

Utilities staff said Phase IB is a lower priority and can be done during the rainy season, after Phase IA repairs are complete.