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Tyler Dam, Study and Drawdown

Impoundment transformed into creek

  • Ypsilanti, Michigan

    Ypsilanti, Michigan

Legacy dam investigated and drawn down

Tyler Dam was built in the early 1940s to provide fire water for the famed Willow Run Bomber Plant, which produced B-24 Liberator bombers for the war effort. The dam was eventually passed to the care of Ypsilanti Township. 

Recent safety inspections identified potentially costly repairs needed at the dam. With this in mind, and because the dam’s original purpose had long since concluded, the Township wanted to investigate decommissioning the structure, weighing the benefits of decommissioning against probable repair costs. Our team conducted a detailed condition assessment of the dam and impoundment, evaluating alternatives for repair and disposition. During the project, we identified a potentially serious structural deficiency that suggested the need for extensive additional investigation, engineering, and construction efforts to address. Following review of the findings, the Township opted to decommission the dam. 

To improve budget feasibility, the impoundment was permanently drawn down through the existing 54-inch bottom drain in the spillway rather than doing a full dam removal. Though the dam would remain in place, permanent drawdown would significantly reduce risk and maintenance costs. We designed the drawdown and restoration plan for the impoundment, and the project was successfully completed in 2017. 

At a Glance

  • Ypsilanti Charter Township
Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority



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