AURORA -- A swollen Fox River punched through a temporary dam near downtown Aurora on Friday morning, driving ducks and debris downstream, but not interrupting Nicor work in the area.
The dam was erected earlier this year to redirect the river to the eastern side of Hurds Island so Nicor could do soil testing on the western side. In recent days, rising river water has flowed over the top, filling the western side that had been drained, according to Nicor spokesman Annette Martinez.
Around 8 a.m. Friday, the middle portion of the dam disappeared, allowing water to rapidly and forcefully pour through.
"A portion of the dam is compromised," she said, adding that plans are to fix it once the river level drops.
No workers or equipment were in danger.
"We were prepared," Martinez explained, saying crews and equipment were pulled out of the riverbed Monday in anticipation of Mother Nature's river plans. "We did continue work."
To assist its remediation work tied to the former gas plant near North Avenue and River Street, Nicor constructed the wood, steel and concrete dam -- which stretches from Steck Park to the northern tip of Hurds Island -- to allow soil and bedrock testing in the river west of the island. A second temporary dam was installed along the park's southern edge to prevent back flow from the river. Some water was flowing over that dam Friday, Martinez said.
Last summer, Nicor installed a rock wall on a 500-foot section of the riverbank near River Street to cordon off the Fox from contaminated soil. The dams redirected the flow around the island's eastern side. The work had been scheduled to end in March, but a snowy winter and rainy early spring mean reassessing.
"We determine how to proceed when the water recedes," Martinez said.
An offshoot of the incident were several calls to the city from residents concerned about rumors of a dam break. By Friday afternoon, the city issued a statement to clarify it was only the Nicor barricade and that no permanent dams were damaged.
i drive over the rt 14 bridge everyday to work and its freaky seeing the Fox River Grove park, and the homes on the other side about to be flooded; with rain in the forecast for 5 days of the 7 days it is gonna be interesting to see what happens...