Two projects on the shore of Lake Mendota--reconstruction of the theater, and construction of Alumni Park--have not been properly inspected for erosion control.
Boldt Construction is the contractor
The biggest problem is the required silt curtain. The problems are so obvious--that I wonder if anyone has been inspecting the site.
On November 28, I found four problems...
1. The required silt curtain is non-functional, apparently for some time. Inspecting closeup by boat, I saw...
- numerous large gaps in the floats,...
- the curtain below the intact floats was ripped in multiple places, and...
- the Styrofoam floats were drifting away and fragmenting. Fragments were found as far as James Madison Park.
Lessons from this project
- Reliance on a "silt curtain" is a mistake. The porous curtain--even if properly maintained--doesn't go all the way to the bottom. Once phosphorus escapes to the lake from this construction, the curtain won't stop it. And as you can see, the curtain has deteriorated so much that it has become a source of litter.
- The Alumni Association touts the environmental benefits of this project. Would alumni still donate to this project, if they knew the project was harming the lake?
- The environmental impact statement said there would be no harmful impacts from this project--but poor execution is proving that study wrong.
- The new tower for the Edgewater Hotel will be built on a steep slope next to the lake (below). Let's hope that project won't rely on a useless silt curtain and non-existent inspection.
More photos of construction at the Union.