River Returns In Time For Wichita Riverfest

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Friday, May 25, 2012

The City of Wichita allowed water to rise in the Arkansas River just a week before the start of the Wichita River Festival.

"That's pretty neat. I can't believe it filled up that fast. It's only been a day and half since they shut that and it's already full," said Randy Mans, Wichita resident.

Those who frequently visit the Lincoln Street bridge were glad to see the river return in time for the Riverfest.

"It's the River Festival. You know, you couldn't have a lot of the events without having the river up," said Clarence Meyer, Wichita resident.

The city made plans before construction began to have water levels rise for the annual event. Although water levels started rising on Wednesday morning, construction continued on the bridge and dam.

"Progress on the dam is going good. There's still some minor items left to complete on the dam, so it's operational, but it's not 100 percent complete yet. We also have work on the bridge yet to finish," said Steven Degenhardt, engineer for Wichita Public Works and Utilities.

Degenhardt said the project is on schedule and cautions people who want to check on the progress.

"Remind people this still is a construction zone. I know there's a lot of interesting things to see down there but people can be mindful of the construction zone," he said.

Engineers will have to lower water levels after Riverfest to finish construction. The project is expected to be complete by October or November.

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