TRAVERSE CITY — Brown Bridge Dam is gone.
Major deconstruction work wrapped this week on the much-watched dam removal project on the Boardman River, leaving behind only a large earthen embankment and a free-flowing stream.
"It's awesome to stand here," said Frank Dituri, chair of the Boardman River Dams Implementation Team, as he urged bystanders on Friday to go to overlooks near where the dam used to stretch.
"Come back to the river, and watch the river," Dituri said.
The wrap up of deconstruction comes a little more than three months after a major gaffe in the project caused extensive flooding to riverfront properties. An Oct. 6 breach of a construction device at the dam sent most of the Brown Bridge Pond cascading into the Boardman all at once, terrifying homeowners as the river rose several feet in a matter of minutes.
At least 54 properties were damaged.
The dam was built in 1921 for hydropower generation and was owned by Traverse City Light & Power. It was decommissioned in 2005, then removed this year as part of a long-term plan to demolish three dams on the river and return the Boardman to its natural state.
More river restoration will be done in the spring, but the majority of the Brown Bridge project is now complete, Dituri said. The removal cost $4.2 million, including design, permitting and construction.
The project restores 1.5 miles of cold water trout stream, 13 acres of wetlands and 25 acres of upland habitat.
Chuck Lombardo, spokesman for the Implementation Team, said the Brown Bridge Dam demolition involved 21,270 man hours and the removal of 260,000 cubic yards of sediment.
That amount of sediment would be as tall as a 10-story building a football field wide.
"The dam structure is gone, and the heavy lifting is done," Lombardo said.
A cause of the Oct. 6 flooding is still under investigation by the Michigan Dam Safety Unit. A final report identifying the cause is expected by spring.
"We wish it never happened," Lombardo said of the flooding. "(But) to infer that this was somehow a failed public works project that's going to harm the taxpayer — that's not correct."
The impact of flooding on the river's health also is being investigated. Members of the Implemention Team said Friday they are seeing near normal levels on tests to measure cloudiness of the water in tests this week.
"The project is extremely positive for the long-term health of the river," said Brett Fessell, a fish and wildlife coordinator for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.
Despite the flooding, Lombardo said the Implementation Team is committed to the removal of the Boardman and Sabin dams in the coming years. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing a report to document options for removal of those dams. Their removal will depend in large part on the ability to raise millions through grants and private sources, and Lombardo is confident the money will be raised.
"We are facing the same obstacles we faced in removing the Brown Bridge Dam, and the team is confident the challenges will be overcome," Lombardo said.
TRAVERSE CITY — Brown Bridge Dam is gone.
Quartet crosses ice to N. Manitou
A moment of pure terror surged through Tom Bisbee when the ice cracked beneath his feet. The cold came next as he plunged into the frigid waters of Lake Michigan nearly 1.5 miles from the nearest piece of dry land.Continued ...
Hearing planned for Garfield theater complex
The public will have a chance to comment on one of the area’s largest post-recession development projects.Continued ...
3 injured in separate crashes
A Mayfield man remains hospitalized after a snowmobile crashed into a shore station at a frozen southern Michigan lake.Continued ...
Kingsley oil well erupts in flames
A mechanical problem likely sparked a spectacular eruption of flames from an oil and natural gas well near Kingsley, a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality official said.Continued ...
Attic fire damages East Bay Township home
A fire destroyed most of an East Bay Township home’s roof before firefighters extinguished the blaze.Continued ...
Rec authority seeks facility manager
The joint recreational authority of Traverse City and Garfield Township won’t wait for a $650,000 makeover of the Cathedra Barn to start planning events.Continued ...
- Monday, March 10, 2014
Sheriff: GPS led Canadian duo astray
A craving for milkshakes and faulty GPS directions turned a young Canadian duo's late night quest to find a McDonald's restaurant into an overnight misadventure along a Kalkaska back road.Continued ...
Inuit art collectors make the trip
To say Ann Conway loves Inuit art is an understatement. Every available space in her Traverse area townhouse is covered with intricately carved figurines.Continued ...
Winner dedicated to social work, ed.
This year's recipient of the Sara Hardy Humanitarian Award was so shocked to be selected by the Traverse City Human Rights Commission that she called back the chairwoman two days later to make sure she'd correctly heard the news.Continued ...
Frat takes to road for MS
Quentin Callahan slumped in the corner of a booth at Mackinac Brewing, eyes closed, hood over his head.Continued ...
- Sunday, March 9, 2014
Zoning question to delay decision
A decision whether to use a city-owned warehouse for an emergency homeless shelter likely will extend into summer as city planners devise a new zoning ordinance.Continued ...
Heroin floods court docket
Another day, another heroin case. Illegal drugs inundated Grand Traverse County’s court docket last week.Continued ...
Taxes paid, code violations still remain
A downstate bank paid Sugar Loaf Resort’s outstanding taxes, but whomever owns the property needs to address a slew of building code violations before any major changes can occur at the long-shuttered Leelanau County winter retreat.Continued ...
Judge sides with township in Kasson gravel case
A local judge ruled against a landowner who challenged Kasson Township zoning rules because she wanted to mine gravel on her Leelanau County property.Continued ...
Low-income housing project lost
A development group lost control of 15 acres on the city’s west side, and along with it their proposal to develop 102 low-income, work-force housing apartments.Continued ...
- Saturday, March 8, 2014
How to finance history?
Talks continue between a host of local nonprofit officials who could overlap their organizations for history’s sake.Continued ...
Parking-space dining latest twist for downtown TC
The opportunity to dine in a street-side parking space could become the latest epicurean delight — or potential nightmare, in one official’s mind — to arrive in downtown Traverse City.Continued ...
'Good Samaritan' injured in wreck needs help
They called Scott Peterson “Good Samaritan” after the late January car wreck that nearly killed him. But friends and family said Peterson, a man who would “give a stranger the shirt off his back” needs some payback for a lifetime of good deeds.Continued ...
Union pact on TCAPS agenda
Traverse City Area Public Schools board members will consider a contract with the Food Service Employees Association, the purchase of 11 new school buses and employee layoffs, resignations and retirements at their meeting Monday night.Continued ...
Nominate an outstanding educator
Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District wants to hear from the community about area educators who have made a difference.Continued ...
Two arrested in drug bust
Traverse Narcotics Team officers arrested a Detroit man and woman after a months-long drug probe.Continued ...
- Friday, March 7, 2014
Benzonia woman accused of prescription fraud
A Benzonia woman faces a felony charge after authorities said she fraudulently obtained hundreds of prescription pills.Continued ...
Dispatch: Smart911 worth the price
An online service that gives Grand Traverse County 911 responders potentially vital information about callers cost taxpayers almost $19 per call in its first half-year of operation.Continued ...
Pastor sues former church over contract
A controversial pastor’s public schism with his former church moved into the legal realm.Continued ...
Downtown boat ramp hits bump
A plan to redesign a Boardman River boat launch in Traverse City is temporarily grounded because some local environmentalists weren’t consulted about changes.Continued ...
- Quartet crosses ice to N. Manitou