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Tempe Town Lake Dam Won't Be Made Out of Balloons This Time

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A dam on the west side of Tempe Town Lake is expected to be completed by the end of 2015 -- and it won't be made out of balloons this time.

In 2010, one of these balloons ("bladders" is the term the city uses) burst, emptying, oh, 750 million gallons of water out of the lake.

See also:
-Tempe Town Lake Photos: Bird's Eye View of the Emptied Lake

Yesterday the city council approved a $24 million construction contract for a steel and concrete dam. A related contract, for a manufacturer of steel gates, was awarded in September.

According to city documents, about 20 dam options were studied. The rubber-bladders plan was among four finalists, albeit from a different company this time around.

The city had a 10-year warranty on the Bridgestone bladders, which expired the year before the burst. The dam is currently using a replacement bladder from the company, which it needs to return by December 2015 -- when city officials hope the new dam is done.

The dam on the east side is still made out of those bladders, but that dam's only 5 feet high, compared to 16 feet on the west end.

For the new dam, the total cost is estimated at $40.7 million.

City officials say this dam will last "for decades" (the one that broke after 11 years was supposed to last for three decades).

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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