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No dam reason to worry

Reservoir dam is sound; bridge fix in planning stage

News editor

Memorial Day weekend visitors to Marion Reservoir were greeted by an additional electronic sign meant to keep large vehicles off the dam.

The Corps of Engineers imposed a maximum six-ton limit for vehicles and vehicle combinations in November as a safety precaution for the bridge that spans the dam release gates.

“It’s just for the bridge,” lake manager Kevin McCoy said. “It’s 50 years old. It’s seeing its age. In no manner does the condition of the bridge affect the structural integrity of the dam. Marion Dam is still 100 percent operational, and we have no issues.”

Weight limit signs have been posted, and an electronic message board stationed at the west end of the dam reinforces the message for travelers coming off US-56. For the holiday weekend, a second board was placed at the east end to catch traffic coming from Pawnee and 210th Rds.

“Even for my own equipment that exceeds six tons, we have to use the lower road to travel around the dam,” McCoy said.

The bridge is not in danger of failure, McCoy said, but imposing the weight limit reduces the chance of problems cropping up. If in the unlikely event the bridge would fail, it wouldn’t adversely affect the gates.

“It doesn’t span the gates themselves,” he said. “The gates lie outside the deck.”

A bigger challenge than massive self-contained recreational vehicles are drivers who could be unaware various combinations of trucks and trailers might exceed the weight limit, McCoy said.

“A lot of campers don’t realize the weight of their equipment,” he said. “Your overall vehicle gross weight can easily exceed six tons. I encourage the public to know their combined vehicle weight so that they’re not going across that bridge in excess of the six-ton limit.”

Last modified June 14, 2017

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