Funding Needed To Make Arkansas River Low-Water Dam Safer - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

News

Funding Needed To Make Arkansas River Low-Water Dam Safer

Posted: Updated:
Anyone who ignores the warnings and goes into the water near the dam doesn't have much of a chance to get out. Anyone who ignores the warnings and goes into the water near the dam doesn't have much of a chance to get out.
Matt Meyer is the director of RiverParks and would love the long-planned but never funded redesign of the dam go forward. Matt Meyer is the director of RiverParks and would love the long-planned but never funded redesign of the dam go forward.
The danger of the dam is well known, warnings are clearly posted, and the signs have flashers to indicate the water is rising. The danger of the dam is well known, warnings are clearly posted, and the signs have flashers to indicate the water is rising.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A day-long search for three missing fisherman ended with three bodies pulled out of the Arkansas River Thursday.

Witnesses said the first man went in and went under and the two others died trying to save him. But it was likely an impossible effort from the start.

Anyone who ignores the warnings and goes into the water near the dam doesn't have much of a chance to get out. The smooth flow of water over the dam hides the danger that's down at the bottom. There's a rolling effect in the water that will pull down almost anything that gets in there.

It's why even trained rescuers stayed at a distance until the flow was reduced.

8/1/2013 Related Story: Tulsa Fire Department: Body Of 3rd Fisherman Recovered From Arkansas River

"Life jacket, expert swimmers won't make it out of a low water dam once it starts churning and it was rolling pretty good," said Tulsa Fire Captain Stan May.

Early in the search, the flow was shut off at Keystone Dam, but since the river moves only two miles an hour, it was late afternoon when river dropped and rescuers were able to safely walk around.

Even then, they didn't get near the dam.

"You get caught in this hydraulic effect and even if you're an Olympic swimmer, you're not going to get out," said Matt Meyer.

8/1/2013 Related Story: Arkansas River's Low-Water Dam 'A Drowning Machine'

Meyer is the director of RiverParks and would love the long-planned but never funded redesign of the dam go forward. It would cost about $25 million.

"Some sort of cascade or stair step, which if you fall in the river somewhere, you might get some bumps or bruises but it would spit you out at the bottom," Meyer said.

The gentle slope on the dam is visible when it's dry, but that shape creates a turbulent, rolling effect when there's water, which is why if the dam is ever improved, the new design would step the water down gradually.

The danger of the dam is well known, warnings are clearly posted, and the signs have flashers to indicate the water is rising.

Whenever someone ignores that and gets in the water the odds are against them getting out alive.

"But it's certainly not safe if you get caught up in it," Meyer said.

Tulsa voters have twice rejected the taxes to pay for improvements to the dam, and a plan for the state to pay for it was dropped by the legislature.

The design and permitting of a better, safer dam is almost done--there's just no money for pay for it.

Special Features

Community Calendar

Find out what's going on around town and submit events!

Share

See it! Shoot it! Send it! Share your weather pics and videos with NewsOn6.com!

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

Mobile Alerts

Get breaking news, headlines, weather alerts & more on your cell phone.

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Special Coverage

  • Bridge Tracker

    How safe are Oklahoma's bridges? Use Bridge Tracker to find out now.

  • Cold Case

    Join Lori and local homicide detectives as they search for Cold Case clues.

  • Crime Tracker

    Find out what crimes are committed in your area with Crime Tracker.

  • Fallen Heroes

    News On 6 honors our fallen Oklahoma heroes. View our interactive timeline.

  • Murrah Bombing Timeline

    Learn more about the events leading up to and following the bombing.

  • Storm Zone

    Watch tornadoes tear across Oklahoma and learn how to stay safe!

  • Turnpike Timelines

    View a historical road map of Oklahoma's turnpike system.

Powered by WorldNow
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
TULSA'S OWN TM
GREEN COUNTRY'S OWN TM
Oklahoma's Own Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state including Tulsa's Own and Green Country's Own.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014, WorldNow and KOTV. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.