Replacing the Thurman Mill diversion dam in the middle of the Boise River proves no small task. To make the project work, local construction company McAlvain Inc., the contractors behind replacing the defunct dam, have diverted the river around the project area through the neighboring Quinn's Pond off Pleasanton Avenue.
The company is sinking steel beams into the riverbed, the foundation for a new dam that serves an integral part of the planned Ray Neef River Recreation Area.
When the first phase is completed, the river will run over the top of the newly minted dam, scheduled to go into use just in time for the spring snow melt. The construction company has to be out of the river by then, for fear that a heavy snow runoff would topple the makeshift dams that ring the construction area. The dam also serves to control the flow of the river, and the irrigation system it feeds.
The City of Boise and the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation have both contributed financially to the project. When completed, the dam will provide a white-water feature for kayakers to use for recreation. The whole area will be revamped, including slow-water jetties, picnic areas and renewed riparian growth.