Saturday, May 30, 2009

Engineers Deem Ford Dam 'Unsafe'

A 92-year-old dam between Minneapolis and St. Paul is now classified as a safety risk. The Army Corp of Engineers says they're worried water could be seeping under the Ford Dam's foundation and potentially cause it to fail. Officials say the concrete is crumbling and rebar has become exposed on the dam--enough of a concern to deem it 'unsafe' or 'potentially unsafe.' The Army Corp has given the Ford Dam a level two safety ranking, on a five-point scale, with one being the highest threat. "It's over 90-years-old. Ninety-year-old structures have problems sometimes, so that's why we've placed it so high," Mark Davidson said.However, Davidson did note the high safety threat ranking for the dam is precautionary. While a breech in the dam would not pose a danger to homes, it would flood local parks like Hidden Falls Park in St. Paul and Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis. Yet officials say the dam does need to be repaired soon, to prevent bigger problems down the road. What's next? The Army Corps says they'll continue testing the site and if they find more issues, they will have to fix the dam or replace it entirely, which will cost millions of dollars and shut down the Mississippi River waterway for years.

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