In September, construction began to modify the existing river weir and banks of the Kansas River where it runs through Topeka. The purpose is to enhance public safety, provide reasonable fish passage, improve navigation around the weir – all while maintaining adequate upstream pool elevation for water intakes to the water treatment plant. On the 12th of December, the contractor poured the first chute for the weir project, as well as creating a rock base for the second chute and basin.
Limitations imposed by KDWPT prohibit work in the river during the summer months to protect native fish, therefore the work is being broken down into two phases. Phase I started in September and will be completed in the first part of 2021. This work includes the boat and fish passages on the north bank as well as the new boat ramp and benching of the highest portion of the weir to reduce the impact of the keeper hydraulic.
Phase II will start September of 2021 and conclude in early 2022. That work includes constructing the chute at the low water notch in the weir and benching the middle section to reduce the hydraulic keeper in these sections.
“This has been a long-standing priority for both the City and the Riverfront Advisory Council,” said Greg Schwerdt, owner of Schwerdt Design Group and chair of the Riverfront Advisory Council. “The weir will not only be a engineering feat, in and of itself, but it will also serve as a way to better control the flow of the River, improving safety and enjoyment overall. I, personally, can’t wait to see the final product in the spring of 2022.”
The project underway at this location will include a bypass channel which will allow safe navigation around the existing river weir without having to portage. The other features of the project include alteration of existing wing dikes and installation of rock and concrete surfaces below the weir to improve public safety. When the project is completed next year, a new parking area will be constructed which will feature a more reliable access road aimed to reduce illegal dumping and destruction of property.
The project budget approved by the council is $5,791,000. The contractor is TSP and the design consultant is Recreation Engineering and Planning. You can learn more and follow the progress of the project using the Topeka Open Projects Dashboard under Project Number T-281058.01, KS River Weir Upstream Modifications. Go to this link, and scroll down the left column to click on KS River Weir-Upstream Modifications.
–Lee Hartman | Metro Voice
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