Iowa River Powerhouse Dam more damaged than previously thought

The discovery of previously unseen structural deficiencies prompted the city to hire another consultant to bring additional expertise to the dam repair project.


Emily Nyberg

The Burlington Street Dam on the Iowa River is seen on Monday Feb. 13, 2023.

Isabelle Foland, News Reporter

The Iowa River Powerhouse Dam was found to have more deficiencies than previously believed, prompting the City of Iowa City to bring on another consultant to further assess the damage.

This additional hiring, which will tack on a little over $50,000 in additional fees, was approved by the Iowa City City Council at its April 18 meeting.

In late 2019, the dam was inspected by a construction company and was found to have structural deficiencies in an area near one of its piers.

The current consultants for the project conducted an inspection of the whole dam and found several previously unseen deficiencies. These include several damages near two different piers, weathered concrete, and a couple of holes in various locations of the dam, the agenda states.

The project’s consultant, Origin Design, and city staff determined that another consultant with additional dam engineering expertise needs to be brought onto the project so these deficiencies can be adequately addressed.