Dam Safety System Called Into Question - FOX 18 Quad Cities News and Weather

Dam Safety System Called Into Question

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Questions are being raised about the safety of the Milan Steel Dam. Questions are being raised about the safety of the Milan Steel Dam.


We took a closer look tonight at the safety systems surrounding the Milan Steel Dam, where a fatal jet ski accident took place this past weekend.

A final buoy line is not in place and has been out of action for several weeks.

The last system standing guard against the Low Head dam is a boat barrier, essentially a cable strung between each shore with orange buoys on it. Rock Island is responsible for putting them in place and maintaining them, but floods knocked them out of action.

The city's Public Works Director says his crews couldn't get the barriers in place until mid-June about a month late, and then high water and debris came through and snapped the cables.

He notified the Federal Government that the barriers were not in place, and has been waiting for the river level to fall to repair the lines. There are still other warning signs and buoys in place warning boaters of the danger.

It's not clear if the barrier could have prevented the accident this weekend had it been in place. While it's required to be there, it's not required to act as a safety line, just a final warning.

The public works director says he's going to try to get them fixed as soon as possible.

"Recover the cables, and see what we need to do, whether we can just string a new cable use the existing buoys," said Rock Island Public Works Director Randy Tweet. "More than likely some of the buoys were swept downstream or we'll have to cut the cable."

While it's the city's responsibility to put up the boat barrier, the dams actually belong to the state of Illinois. It completed a study several years ago with options to make these dams safer all across the state.

We're waiting to hear back from the state to see where those options currently stand.


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