Statement issued Thursday:
Fort Wayne, IN – In order to facilitate completion of the Martin Luther King, Jr. bridge and other City and County projects, water levels in Fort Wayne’s rivers will be lowered beginning on August 15, 2011. The decision to lower the rivers was made after extensive discussions between river enthusiasts including Friends of the Rivers, contractors working on the bridge and City and County officials.
The tainter gate on the Hosey Dam on the Maumee River will be opened on Monday, August 15. By opening the gate, water will be released from the City’s river system and water levels will drop by a few feet. The effects of the lowering will be seen on all three rivers, primarily in the downtown area. The level of the St. Joseph River above the St. Joe Dam at Coliseum Boulevard will not be affected. The release of additional water from the Hosey Dam will not affect any downstream communities.
The City’s typical protocol is to leave the rivers at a higher level until October, if possible, to accommodate the interests of boaters. However, lowering the rivers in August will allow work to proceed more quickly on the Martin Luther King, Jr. bridge over the St. Mary’s River on Clinton Street. Lower river levels will also allow Allen County to complete work on the Tecumseh Street Bridge and will allow for erosion repair to be done on the banks of the St. Mary’s River at Edgewater Avenue and Thieme Drive.
“This decision was not made lightly or easily,” said Dan Wire of Friends of the Rivers. “It comes following a lot of discussion and compromise. Lower river levels affect boaters and local businesses, but we have all agreed this is best for the community right now.”
Rivers will remain at the lower level at least until October first. At that time river level considerations will be examined again.