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Montello dredge bank on Buffalo Lake and boat launch closed to all traffic

News Release Published: September 1, 2009 by the Northeast Region

Contact(s): Tom Nigus, DNR Area Wildlife Supervisor, (920) 787-4686 ext. 3009

Flooding and traffic caused sinkholes along the dike; dam repairs planned

WAUTOMA - Due to concern for safety and possible failure of the Montello dam on the Fox River, the Department of Natural Resources is closing Sunset Drive to all traffic on the dredge bank including the two-way stretch on the north end that is used to access the boat launch.

The Montello dam on the Fox River experienced damage from the rains and flooding in June 2008. When traffic was rerouted from the highway to the dredge bank during the flooding, the traffic caused sinkholes to develop along the dike.

The DNR has hired McMahon Associates Engineering to investigate the condition of the embankment so that the safety of both the dam and the residents of the city can be evaluated. McMahon and its contractors took soil samples, performed strength testing and developed models to predict the stability of the dam. Early indications from the consultants suggest that the dam is in much more serious condition than originally thought.

"The Montello dam is a low-hazard structure. This means that its failure would not result in any loss of life," said Dave Stertz, NER Dam Safety Engineer. "However, traffic on the dike increases the likelihood of failure of the dam and in order to prevent that and prevent the loss of Buffalo Lake, we must eliminate the stress that cars and trucks add to the dam."

The DNR will be getting recommendations and cost estimates from the consultant for various options and will share more information about the dam process as it becomes available.

"We know this is an inconvenience, but we need to keep safety of citizens a top priority," said Tom Nigus, DNR Area Wildlife Manager and manager of the state-owned dam and former lock property. "Fortunately, other boat landings are available for people to use Buffalo Lake. The Andy Krakow Fishing Access portion of the property (near the spillway) will remain open.for use."

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Last Revised: Tuesday, September 01, 2009