Work Begins to Increase Kansas River Safety

Crews are beginning work to fix a dangerous stretch of the Kansas River where three people have drowned since 2007.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the two-year, $5.7 million project aims to make a river weir in Topeka safer.

Friends of the Kaw executive director Dawn Buehler says the problem is that calmer, slow-moving water suddenly speeds up around the weir, creating a dangerous washing-machine effect.

Kelly Ryan, levee engineer at the Topeka Utilities Department, said construction will be done in two phases. The first phase of construction will remove hydrologic equipment that caused a scour hole that can knock boaters into the water.

That construction is expected to be completed by this winter, and once complete, kayakers should be able to pass by the weir without having to leave the water.

Ryan also said rocks will be added to change the flow of the river, and a passageway for kayaks and fish will be installed.